The Frankston Murders: 25 years on

Clan Destine Press is proud to announce our latest release,

the updated edition of our bestselling true crime book

about the Frankston serial killer.


The Frankston Murders: 25 years on 

by Vikki Petraitis


It’s been 25 years since three young Melbourne women – Elizabeth Stevens, Debbie Fream and Natalie Russell –  lost their lives to a remorseless, baby-faced serial killer.

For seven  weeks in 1993, the women of Melbourne lived in fear, but nowhere more so than the  suburbs around Frankston where the vicious killer was stalking and murdering with no apparent motive.

And that meant anyone – any woman – could be his next victim.

It began on 11 June, when Elizabeth Stevens was murdered on her way home from the library. Then, on 8 July, Debbie Fream left her new baby boy with a friend while she dashed out for milk. She was abducted and killed. Three weeks later, Year 12 student, Natalie Russell, was brutally murdered on her way home from school.

When 21-year-old Paul Denyer was arrested the day after Natalie’s body was found, the police and public were shocked by his lack of emotion. Denyer spoke of the three young women with contempt as he described their final moments. Their deaths had simply fuelled his bloodlust.

Eleven years later, convicted serial killer, Paul Denyer, made front-page news again with his quest for a sex change. This murderer of women wanted to become one.

This year, 25 years on, the trauma of Denyer’s killing spree still haunts the community, the police involved and obviously the friends and families left behind.


In 1993, true crime writer Vikki Petraitis had just published her first book –The Phillip Island Murder – and was researching her second, a collection of stories about cops on the job. She had already spent time with police at Frankston, interviewing officers from the community policing squad and going on ride-alongs.

She was in the squad room the day officers worried about the disappearance of a young mother, Debbie Fream; and was on a night-shift ride-along, to interview a sergeant, on July 30, the night Natalie Russell’s body was found. Vikki had to stay in the police car for hours while police investigated the crime scene of Denyer’s third victim.

Vikki was embargoed at the time from writing anything; but took copious notes and followed the case closely.

When Paul Denyer was locked away for life at the end of that year, Vikki set about writing the tragic story of what happened in Frankston in the winter of 1993.

The first, bestselling edition of The Frankston Murders was published by Vikki in 1995. A new edition was published, as The Frankston Serial Killer, by Clan Destine Press in 2011.

The Frankston Murders: 25 years on is a revised and update edition which  details the shocking crimes and explores the lingering effects of what Paul Denyer did. 

In this book, Debbie Fream’s son Jake, now 25-years-old, speaks about the loss of his mother. And Carmel and Brian Russell share their dream for Denyer’s ongoing incarceration, as the killer of their child will be eligible to apply for parole for the first time in 2023.

Thirty years seemed like a long time at sentencing back in 1993. It’s now only five years away.

The books is available now here and at all good bookstores.