Leonard Fraser was a habitual offender who was in and out of prison for most of his life. A serial manipulator, Fraser took advantage of numerous female victims in different towns in eastern Australia.
This episode may be upsetting for some listeners, so listener discretion is advised.
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Organizations supporting prison reform:
ACLU National Prison Project (US): https://www.aclu.org/other/aclu-national-prison-project
Justice Policy Institute (US): http://www.justicepolicy.org/About1.html
Justice Action (Australia): https://www.justiceaction.org.au/about-us/about-justice-action
Hi Everyone, welcome back to Killer Astrology, the podcast, with your host, Laura. I’ve had a handful of new listeners from Australia, which my Sag venus loves, so as a thank you to you all for joining me, I’m covering the case of an Australian killer this week. Today we’ll be talking about Leonard Fraser, and I have to tell you that this is the first killer I’ve covered who has really, seriously given me the creeps. I am generally pretty open-minded and can find at least one redeeming quality about anyone. And if I can’t do that, I can at least find an entertaining quality. Like with Ted Bundy, for example, who’s a total psychopath but managed to escape from jail twice, which, let’s be honest, is max-level interesting. But with this guy, I am really at a complete loss. I just think he’s 100% vile.
Leonard Fraser was born in Ingham, which is a little town in northern Queensland, Australia. He was the second-youngest child born to his parents, George and Agnes Fraser. His father was an army veteran who had fought in World War II and had come back to work as a machinist, or mechanic, and his mother stayed at home with the children. I had trouble finding anything significant about his home life, aside from one article from ABC Radio Brisbane that mentions a troubling childhood. I would really have liked to hear some details, because the counselor in me knows that most people aren’t born antisocial: they’re made that way by trauma.
One potential trauma may have occurred for Leonard when he was in school: like Ted Bundy, he had a speech impediment, and I imagine that in the early 50s, kids weren’t exactly kind about this difference...especially not boys who were taught to be tough and assert their dominance around their friends. On top of the potential difficulties with his classmates, it has been said that Leonard was of, quote, “below average intelligence”, which I find really interesting. I want to know exactly what his IQ was, but I couldn’t find that info, if it even exists. But I do think that information is critical to understanding his criminal tendencies. Either way, it is important to know that he struggled in school, and it’s likely that he didn’t take in a lot of the material he was learning. And in the early 1950s, he probably didn’t get the support he needed to do better.
Unsurprisingly, Leonard wound up dropping out of school at 14 and going to work, instead. But that didn’t last long, because he was caught stealing a piece of equipment from a parked car and sentenced to time in a boys prison. That prison was the Gosford Boys Home in New South Wales, and Leonard learned a lot of his criminal behavior from his fellow inmates there. In an episode of Crime Investigation Australia, reporter Paula Doneman says that in that prison, the boys learned to just take what they wanted, and for Leonard and many of the other boys there, that applied to sex. Leonard was likely raped by the other boys, and in turn, he likely raped younger boys, and that’s where he learned to be a predator. But in addition to learning that he was essentially entitled to have sex with whoever he wanted, Leonard had a very bad temper which got him into trouble later on.
Leonard was released from the boys’ prison in 1968, which makes the 2.5 years he served there his longest-served sentence for his least severe crime between 1966 and 1974.
Over the next 5 years following his release, Leonard was charged with multiple violent crimes, starting very shortly after his release. In December of 1968, Leonard was charged for another crime: assaulting a railway guard, which I think is like a conductor in the US. Apparently the guard had said something to or about his girlfriend at the time, and Leonard got protective. Needless to say, nothing ever came of his relationship with that girlfriend. He went back to prison for this crime, then got out, and got in trouble again for street fighting and driving without a license. Then, in 1971, Leonard stole a car and was sentenced to 20 months in Jail. He served about half of that sentence before being released in October of 1972. He wasn’t out of jail for more than a matter of days before his crimes escalated.
On October 17th, 1972, Leonard got in a fight with a roommate and went to the Botanical Gardens in Sydney to let off some steam. It was there that he carried out a random attack on a French tourist, who he raped and beat so badly that she could no longer conceive children. Although this attack was in the middle of a public area, it appears there were no witnesses, and Leonard got away with it.
But that doesn’t mean he stayed a free man. He was actually put back in jail for a series of crimes, both violent and nonviolent, but which included armed robbery and “living off prostitution wages”. I’m not sure exactly what he did to receive that charge, but to me it sounds like he was some kind of pimp, and that means he probably committed dozens of other crimes against women that were undocumented.
For this latest series of crimes, Fraser was sentenced to 5 years, but it seems that he only served about a year and a half of this sentence before he was out wreaking havoc on the streets again. In 1974, Leonard was attacking women every chance he got, but thankful he wasn’t always successful, and on one of his failed attempts he made a critical mistake: he dropped his wallet. This led police right to him, and in the course of his questioning and trial, he confessed to raping that French taurist a couple of years earlier. For all of his sexual crimes, or attempted sexual crimes, Fraser was sentenced to 21 years in Jail. And for reasons I seriously don’t understand, he only served 7 years of that time.
Leonard was released from prison in 1981, but was charged with aggravated assault that summer for which he only spends two months in jail, and then is released and lives with his parents in Hays Point, another coastal town in Queensland. Now, from this point on it appears on the outside as though Leonard was getting his life together. He gets a real job, how he managed to do that with his record and his disposition, I have no clue, Works as a laborer near where he was living in Mackay, Queensland. Not only did he get a job, but he got a new girlfriend: Pearl Rigby, with whom he had a daughter in the early 1980s. The two stayed together for three years in the apartment they were able to rent together. But, as we now know about Leonard Fraser, he has 0 self-control and he goes on to sabotage himself and his family life by stalking and assaulting a woman on a beach near his home. Naturally, the woman goes to the police and Leonard finally receives a real sentence that he serves completely. He goes to jail for 12 years and not a second less.
The Jail that Leonard goes to is in Rockhampton, Queensland, where his fellow prisoners begin calling him “Lenny the Loon”. This is the kind of thing that I imagine happened when he was in grade school, nicknames and taunting that taught him he was different. I can’t say I feel bad for him whatsoever. He was different, and in the worst way. Thankfully, he served his full 12-year sentence, but then of course, was released into the Rockhampton area. And what did he learn from his time away?
Nothing. He learned nothing.
In 1997, Leonard moved to a town called Yeppoon, which is relatively close to Mackay where he lived with Pearl Rigby and where he assaulted his last victim on the beach. It seems that Leonard was really skilled at finding very vulnerable women and getting close to them, and then taking advantage of them. In January 1997, Leonard moved in with a woman named Marie who was suffering from a deadly cancer. He met her while he was in Jail; she was his penpal. I don’t know what their relationship was like when they were living together; whether it was hostile or relatively calm. It’s hard to believe that any relationship of Leonard’s could have been calm, but if he was in the process of manipulating someone, he may have been able to put on a good face for a little while. But, whatever the status of their relationship, it changed a few months after Leonard moved in, because Marie’s condition worsened and she needed to travel to Brisbane for treatment. And Leonard went to see her there.
Now, If Leonard had been a normal person wanting to accompany his friend to the hospital, he probably would have just said that he wanted to go and then tagged along. But, because there was nothing normal about Leonard, he followed her there instead, hitchhiking his way south until he got to the hospital, where he learned Marie would not survive...and then locked her in the hospital chappel and raped her.
After this heinous event, Leonard really starts to lose control of himself. He moves to Mount Morgan, a town near Rockhampton, and right after his move makes a bad impression on police there. He approaches a police car one day after his arrival and asks, “What are the women like in this place?” Of course, the cops check his record when they get back to the station, and see his long history of violence. But because he hasn’t done anything in their jurisdiction yet, they can’t do anything about him.
That said, it’s not long before Leonard started getting on the bad sides of the townspeople in Mount Morgan. In that episode of Crime Investigation Australia that I mentioned before, a former police officer states that Leonard was, “literally run out of town” for drugging a woman at a local bar and attempting to take her home. It wasn’t until after Leonard left town that the police realized the extent of what he had been doing: threatening women with knives and raping them, then threatening them and their families with retaliation if they went to the police.
Toward the end of 1998, Leonard moved to Rockhampton where he shacked up with Christine Raite, who had an intellectual disability. One day, Leonard took Christine on an afternoon drive toward a secluded area at the end of a dirt road. When they arrived, he got out of the car and retrieved a large object from the trunk, then took it out into the brush. The police later discovered that this “object” was a doll that Leonard used to fake the disposal of a body in order to throw police off...because that same day that he took Christine on a drive, he did dispose of a body somewhere else. It was the body of 9 year old Keyra Steinhard who he kidnapped on her way home from school, unknowingly in front of two witnesses who called the police to report what they saw. When police heard the description of Keyra’s attacker, they knew immediately that it was Leonard they were after. They went to his house that night and asked him to come back to the station. Initially, he denied his involvement in Keira’s disappearance. When he heard that witnesses gave a description of his vehicle, he said that he had lent his car to someone else, named “Squeeky”, who he would later say was his alter ego who forced him to commit terrible crimes. He couldn’t convince cops that he wasn’t involved, and he was soon arrested for kidnapping.
Police formed a search party to find Keyra, but after a few days of searching, they were still empty handed. Finally, Leonard gave in and told police where her body was. It turns out, He didn’t even bother to bury her; he just laid her body against a tree in a dried up creek and covered it with grass. He thought that nature would destroy Keyra’s DNA, which may be why he left her uncovered. But police gathered SO much evidence in this case, including hair and blood from his car, for a total of 340 forensic specimens. When he realized he was screwed, he said that he blacked out and didn’t remember committing the crime. That didn’t fool the cops, the judge, or the jury in his case, and Leonard is was to life in prison for the kidnapping and murder of Keyra Steinhart.
While the trial for Keyra’s murder was underway, Leonard met up with a man he knew from one of his previous incarcerations: Alan Quinn. Alan actually helped police while they were gathering information for Keyra’s trial and were questioning Leonard’s involvement in a few other disappearances in the area. Sometime during or shortly after his first trial, Leonard learned that Quinn was acting as an informant. But surprisingly, he forgave him...and maybe even forgot about the betrayal.
Sometime after the trial ended, Leonard wound up in prison with Alan again. At this point, Police suspected that Leonard was involved in the disappearances of 4 other women in the Rockhampton area. Alan began working with the police again and agreed to wear a wire. Then, he told Leonard that he wanted to learn more about his crimes so that he could write a biography on his criminal life. Under this pretence, Leonard provided Alan with information about his crimes, helping police piece together the events leading to the disappearances of each of these missing women.
The other crimes tied to Leonard were:
There was evidence in most of these cases, and Leonard wound up making confessions to Alan about them. He said that he killed Julie Turner when he made a pass at her and she rejected him. He said he didn’t mean to kill her and did so accidentally, then had to dispose of her body. He said that the same situation occurred with the other women, as well, but Silvia Benedetti perhaps met the most gruesome fate. He said that he had lured Silvia to a hotel room in 1999, where he made a sexual advance and he rejected him. Then, he beat her to death. It turned out that in April of that year, police were tipped off to a crime scene found in a dilapidated hotel that was being torn down. And they found loads of evidence, including facial bones and blood spatter on the 13-foot ceilings.
After he gave up this information, Police asked Leonard to show them where the women were buried, and he did so. He led police to the bodies of Julie Turner, Beverly Leggo, and Sylvia Benedeti, but never admitted to raping any of the women, even though there was evidence to the contrary. Although he confessed to the murder of Natasha Ryan, he couldn’t lead police to her body. He drew them a map that showed her remains in two separate locations, but police found nothing in those areas. Still, they tried him for her death in addition to the others.
During the trial, Leonard tried to relinquish his responsibility for the crimes, referring back to his alter ego, “Squeeky”, and claiming that this character made him commit the murders. But Leonard had already provided too much incriminating information that worked against an insanity plea, and his plan didn’t work. On May 9th, 2003, he was found guilty of some of his crimes, but not all. It turns out that in the middle of Leonard’s trial, Natasha Ryan was found alive. She had been hiding in his boyfriend’s residence for 5 years, and claimed never to have met Leonard.
Prosecutors feared that this new information would jeopardize their conviction. The court went on recess for 4 days after the emergence of this new information, but ultimately resumed, at which time Leonard was found guilty of Sylvia’s Benedetti and Beverly Leggo’s murders, and guilty of manslaughter in the case of Julie Turner. He apparently appeared hostile when Alan Quinn, the informant, took the stand, but was otherwise disinterested. Even When the sentence was declared, Leonard was seen yawning and laying back with his head in his hands when the judge announced multiple life sentences for this “untreatable psychopath”.
On January 1st, 2007, after just 4 years into his sentence, Leonard died of a heart attack in his sleep...giving this terrible story a rather tame ending.
It was hard for me to comprehend just how Leonard became this horrible monster, so I turned to astrology for some clues. Let’s go there now.
Leonard Fraser was born on June 27th, 1951 in Ingham, Queensland, giving him a Cancer sun. No matter what time he was born on June 27th, he also had an Aries moon that was in conjunction with Jupiter, at somewhere between a 4 degree and a 9 degree orb depending on when he was born. No matter what time he was born, this Moon-Jupiter conjunction is in place. And it’s very, very important.
Do you remember what I discussed last episode about the correlation between Ted Bundy’s John Haigh’s, and Ed Gein’s moon placements? They all had moons in the second decan of Sagittarius. While it doesn’t seem like it on the surface, Leonard’s moon placement is actually very eerily similar. Last episode, I explained that the moon in the second decan of Sagittarius combines expresses itself with the influence of Jupiter, ruler of sagittarius, and Mars, ruler of the second decan of Sagittarius. For Leonard, the same energies are at play! Only the Jupiter energy comes from Jupiter being next to the moon and the mars energy comes from both planets in Aries, ruled by mars. Again we have the moon, Jupiter, and mars creating a killer. There are seriously no coincidences, people. God I love astrology.
Moving on. Leonard has a cancer sun, which is a pretty emotional placement, but as is demonstrated by his behaviors, we know that Leonard is also antisocial, meaning he doesn’t feel empathy. I think one explanation for this is that Uranus is in conjunction with Leonoard’s cancer sun, and Uranus is a very detached, unemotional planet. But, as I’ve mentioned before, the birth chart shows nature, and people’s personalities are also created by nurture.
I have an uncle who was born left-handed in the 1950s. Of all the things to take offense by, apparently society decided it wasn’t okay for him to be left handed, and he was forced to write with his right hand all throughout school. And what happened to him? Well, he became a pathological liar. When you suppress peoples’ inherent nature, bad things happen. And the inherent nature of a cancer sun is emotional. But in the 1950s, the time of Pluto in Leo, men were supposed to be anything but emotional. Leonards emotions were probably forced out of him in one way or another, just like my uncle was forced to relinquish his left-handedness. And so, he learned that who he was wasn’t okay, and he learned to shut his emotions off. And that backfired in a BIG way.
A couple of other things are worth mentioning in Leonard’s chart. First, speaking of Pluto in Leo, Leonard had Pluto in Leo very closely conjunct Venus. Venus represents women in astrology, and pluto represents control. The mythology of pluto can help us understand the planet’s impact. Pluto’s interpretation is tied to Hades, the god of the underworld in greek mythology. Hades wasn’t necessarily considered evil in ancient greek culture, he did take what he wanted without consent. Hades fell in love with Persephone, daughter of Goddess Demeter and God Zeus. Hades approached Zeus and asked to marry his daughter, and without consulting anybody, Zeus agreed. Then, one random day, Hades opened up the ground beneath Persephone as she was innocently picking flowers, and she sunk down to the underworld where she became his wife.
There’s a little bit more to that myth that I’m sure will concern us in the future, but it doesn’t really concern us now. The main point is that we can think of Pluto in Leonard’s chart as Hades, taking women, represented by Venus, against their will. The fact that both Pluto and Venus are in Leo, the sign of personal expression, indicates that Leonard’s sexual practices were for him and him alone.
The last thing I want to mention today is the placement of Leonard’s black moon Lilith. I’ve mentioned this point so multiple times before and I’ll Keep mentioning it, because it keeps showing up in the same place! The sagittarius, gemini axis. Again: no. coincidences. Leonard’s Lilith is in 29 degrees of Gemini, a critical degree that magnifies a planet’s impact. And it’s conjunct mars in 24 degrees gemini. This is a scary mix of destructive energy. I’ve referred to Lilith before as the point of rebellion in the birth chart. And for some people, that’s a good descriptor. Sometimes, the rebellion is minor, secretly wearing lingerie under your clothes or going commando or something like that. Other times, the rebellion is huge. Murderous, even.
Lilith actually comes from Jewish mythology, where she was feared. In some books of the bible, she was referred to as a demon and her hands were bound to contain her energy. She represents completely unbridled sexuality, and with the right combination of elements in the birth chart, I believe she can fuel behavior like Leonard’s. Her conjunction with mars in Leonard's chart added a fierceness to her expression. On top of that, she was pushed to fully express her power in the 29th degree of her sign. The 29th degree is where planets get rushed to fulfill their mission...and as we all know, we are at a higher risk of getting things wrong when we rush. Lilith being in Gemini, the unemotional and nonjudgmental sign of the two-faced twins, let morality fall to the wayside in her pursuit. There’s not a doubt in my mind that her placement was hugely influential in Leonard’s transition into becoming a monster and expressing his desire without regard for others.
The last thing I’d like to say about Leonard isn’t astrology related at all, but still needs to be said. Because the earthly influences that helped create him are present all over the world. Leonard was in and out of jail from the time he was a teenager, and his time there proved not to be rehabilitating, but instrumental in creating a person who had little regard for others’ humanity. What he was initially jailed for wasn’t a violent crime, but what he learned in jail taught how to commit increasingly violent crimes in the future. We need to find better ways to help people who break laws, so that we’re not putting them in a situation where they learn to become more destructive and self-serving. Supportive rehabilitation can provide so much more than punishment. There are a couple of different organizations working toward prison reform in the US, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Policy Institute. If you’re interested in their cause, I’ll include their websites in the episode description.
Thank you for tuning in to this week’s episode of Killer Astrology. I’ll be back next week with another episode about another troubled killer. Until then, remember. People may lie, but the stars never do.
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