The next on our list comes from 1967. A local man returned from the war that year.
The Nine Greatest Deaths in the History of Marsden Creek:
By Nick Lachmund
Andrew Harvey was born in 1941. By the time he started school, his parents knew he was special. He developed early, was tall for his age and was tremendously co-ordinated. By high school he had represented his state in cricket and football and everyone in Marsden Creek knew his name. He was a local celebrity who had had many a feature article about him in the local paper. After high school he moved to the big smoke and got a good job in advertising. He made good money on weekends playing footy and cricket and he moved in with a nice, attractive girlfriend. His life was good and his future looked incredibly bright.
Andrew hadn’t thought much about national conscription when it came in. He figured, if his birthday came up, he’d have to go. And when it did, he went. It was a short tour of duty, as it turned out. On his twentieth day abroad, a piece of shrapnel lodged itself in his thoracic spinal nerve 2, resulting in Andrew being paralysed below the nipple line. He returned a shell of his former self, physically and mentally. He ended his relationship when he got back and his girlfriend didn’t resist. She didn’t want to spend the rest of her life caring for him. At the age of 25, Andrew returned to Marsden Creek to the care of his parents.
In the year that followed, Andrew was often drunk, sitting in his wheelchair in the corner of a local pub abusing people. One by one, all of the pubs in town banned him and he had nowhere to get drunk and angry other than at home. His parents, both timid people in their late fifties, had no idea what to do with their son. It would be years until society acknowledged PTSD in returned soldiers, and shame and embarrassment kept them from seeking help. They were trapped in a house with an abusive, violent man that was completely dependent on them. It was a terrible situation.
Here’s where the story gets interesting. A neighbour named Beryl Stephenson was watering her garden one morning when she heard a scream come from the Harvey house. Beryl went straight to the front door and knocked. Receiving no response she tried the handle and found it open. After calling out the names of the three members of the Harvey family without response, she walked into the house. When she got the lounge room, she saw two bodies covered in blood.
The police had a terrible time trying to piece together what had happened. The parents had been stabbed multiple times in the lounge room. Andrew was in his bedroom with what appeared to be self-inflicted stab wounds to both legs. ‘The war made me do this’ was written in blood above him. While this may seem straight forward, two factors made the situation difficult to explain. Firstly, Andrew’s wheelchair was missing from the house. Secondly, Andrew’s bedroom was upstairs in the house. It was as if Andrew had somehow stabbed his parents downstairs and crawled up to his room and killed himself. However, no traces of blood were found on the stairs. Also, the timeline didn’t make sense. If Beryl had gone straight to the house, how had Andrew got upstairs so quickly? Nothing made sense but the scene had no signs of a fourth person being there.
The mystery of the soldier that killed his parents and himself has been talked about in Marsden Creek ever since. Some believe that another person was involved. Others have theories about Beryl stealing the wheelchair. The kids at school, when I was still allowed to go to school, had a theory that Andrew was a vampire that drained the blood of his parents, flew to his room and drove a stake through his own heart. That was always my favourite. In any event, the deaths have become an urban legend, shared amongst townsfolk for generations. That’s why they need to be included in our top nine. But don’t worry; the next seven will be even tastier.