Homicide victim advocate Eileen Culleton is calling for national law reform for mandatory life sentencing without parole for the crime of rape and murder.
She is also calling for rape and murder to be a stand alone crime to reflect the gravity of the crime and to enable specific mandatory sentencing.
Rape and Murder Victim Anne-Marie Culleton
Eileen’s sister Anne-Marie Culleton was raped and murdered on 23 February 1988 in Darwin by Jonathan Peter Bakewell, 26, who broke into her flat in the middle of the night when she was sleeping.
Anne-Marie was only 20 when her life was brutally cut short. In the last few weeks of Anne-Marie’s life she had reached a turning point of independence. She had a job, a car, and five weeks prior, she had moved out of home into her first flat. She had hopes and dreams that she was excited about.
Anne-Marie was a beautiful, talented young woman with a bright future ahead of her. With dreams she never got to realise.
Rapist murderer Jonathan Bakewell
26 year old Jonathan Bakewell broke down Anne-Marie Culleton’s back door to attack her in her bed. Bakewell had breached parole in South Australia and was on the run travelling through NSW and QLD before arriving in the NT where he murdered Anne-Marie Culleton.
Despite being given a life sentence with no parole, Bakewell was granted parole after law changes in the Northern Territory to give non parole periods to life sentence prisoners.
Since his release in 2016 in South Australia (where he was transferred while in prison), Bakewell repeatedly breached parole for drug taking, the same drugs he took when he raped and murdered Anne-Marie. Yet the Parole Board kept releasing him.
Finally after his 6th arrest for a drug breach, the Parole Board cancelled his parole on 26 October 2021, the day before Anne-Marie’s birthday.
However the fight will never be over, because once Bakewell gets a new non parole period he will be able to reapply for parole every 12 months and Eileen will have to fight for the rest of her life to keep him behind bars.
Eileen’s successful campaign for Bakewell’s parole to be cancelled after repeated drug breaches
Eileen mounted a two and a half year campaign in 2019 calling for Bakewell’s parole to be cancelled after he repeatedly breached parole for taking drugs – the same drugs he took the night he raped and murdered Anne-Marie Culleton.
Eileen’s campaign was finally successful when on 26 October 2021 the South Australia Parole Board finally cancelled Bakewell’s parole after he was arrested for 6 drug breaches.
In March 2019 Eileen first appealed to the politicians, writing to the South Australian Premier Stephen Marshall, Attorney General Vicki Chapman and Police and former Correctional Services Minister, Corey Wingard calling for urgent action.
In the meantime Bakewell breached parole for the fourth time for taking drugs and in April 2019 he was sent back to custody pending a hearing.
When her letters to the politicians were dismissed, with Bakewell’s parole hearing scheduled for June 2019, Eileen spoke to the media for the first time in 31 years.
She spoke first to the Sunday Mail:
She then spoke to the radio, FiveAA Breakfast presenters David Penberthy and Will Goodings:
In July 2019 Eileen also contacted the SA Opposition and they asked questions in the SA Parliament of the Premier Marshall.
Thank you SA Labor @alpsa @PictonChris for calling the government to account on Tuesday and standing up for #WomensSafety and #VictimsRights after the Premier ignored my letter #KeepBakewellBehindBars #CancelParole #Adelaide #QuestionTime #Q3 #saparli pic.twitter.com/1YdcySGXGX
— Eileen Culleton (@EileenCulleton) July 25, 2019
Bakewell’s parole hearing was deferred to October. In the meantime Eileen was contacted by members of the public who had come into contact with him and were alarmed at his behaviours and had written to the parole board calling for his parole to be revoked. Eileen made a 53 page submission to the parole board which she copied to the politicians and others, calling for the revocation of Bakewell’s parole and for an urgent review of the SA parole board.
In October 2019 she mounted another media campaign, speaking on the TV news for the first time.
Unfortunately Eileen’s initial campaign was not successful, her urgent pleas fell on deaf ears and Bakewell was released for the fifth time on 18 October 2019.
Yet Eileen did not give up and was fortified by new information she received from the community during her campaign that reinforced her belief that Bakewell is as dangerous today as the day he raped and murdered Anne-Marie Culleton.
Bakewell was arrested again over a 5th potential drug breach, and while in custody tested positive for cannabis, which he tried to blame on passive smoking from his cellmate.
ABC 5 May 2021 Read more >>
Shockingly the SA Parole Board gave Bakewell the benefit of the doubt and he was once again released back into the community.
7 News Adelaide 15 June 2021
Eileen called once again for an urgent review and overhaul of the SA Parole Board and for increased transparency and accountability for parole board decisions.
Eileen launched a petition calling for national law reform for mandatory life sentencing without parole for rapist murderers on 25 November 2020, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
She also called for rape and murder to be a stand alone crime to reflect the gravity of the crime and to enable specific mandatory sentencing.
NSW Review into Sentencing for Murder and Manslaughter
Eileen made a 39 page Submission to the NSW Review into Sentencing for Murder and Manslaughter on 7 February 2020.
She also made a 29 page Preliminary Submission on 8 March 2019.
Eileen’s history advocating for community safety
Eileen has a history of advocating for community safety locally and globally.
She was the Founder and CEO of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki, a not for profit global resource for using social media and new technologies in emergencies. Eileen galvanised the Government 2.0 in Queensland Community of Practice to form a collaboration, knowledge sharing and crowdsourcing Emergency 2.0 Wiki community.
This extended across Australia and across the globe, encompassing professionals from the private, government, and community sectors and forming alliances with organisations such as the Business Continuity Institute of Australasia and global NGOs Virtual Operations Support Group (VOSG) and Humanity Road. The Wiki also supported the European Union Program West Yorkshire Police Athena Project to empower citizens and protect communities.
Driving policy change
As CEO of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Eileen helped drive policy change globally to accelerate government use of social media in disasters.
Her advocasy involved presenting at IDRC 2014, a disaster risk conference organised by the Global Risk Forum in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) to inform the new Framework. Her presentation was sponsored by the Attorney-General’s Department Emergency Management Australia. As well as the presentation, Eileen made a Red Chair Statement and submitted a research paper. 3 The Emergency 2.0 Wiki was decommissioned in 2018.
Red Chair Statement
For more information on Eileen’s professional background, please visit her LinkedIn profile.