The Stranger You Know (prelude)

strangerI’ve placed an order for this book after considering it for some time. I made the decision after watching a TV documentary about the murder of Kim Barry in my former home city of Wollongong.

It seems like the show was part of Crime Investigation Australia, a series made over 10 years ago, something I didn’t realise until I looked for more  information about it. I wonder whether it has been updated in some way with a new presenter because it didn’t look like an older show and the show’s  original presenter (Steve Liebman) is not the man who was on the episodes of the show I’ve seen.

Kim Barry a 19 year old, was murdered and mutilated in early 1981. Her headless and fingerless body was found dumped in bushland near Jamberoo, a village south of Wollongong. Her skull and fingers were later found in a separate bushland location also near Jamberoo.

Suspicion fell upon a local miner, Graham Potter, who was charged and later convicted of the murder. He served only 14 years for the gruesome crime. Potter is now one of Australia’s most wanted men – for later crimes unrelated to his original conviction. I suspect he’ll be mentioned again when I write about other books that have relevance to those alleged later crimes.

There are several reasons for my interest in this case:

  1. My dad worked at the same mine as Potter and knew who he was.
  2. A friend worked within the same department as Kim Barry’s father at a local industrial complex.
  3. My parents knew the man who discovered Kim Barry’s skull
  4. Gloria and I crossed paths with Potter soon after his release from jail. He was walking into a local K-Mart store as we were walking out.

Around 20 years after his release from jail for that murder, Potter is now stated to be Australia’s most wanted man, after skipping bail related to serious drug charges and being associated with a proposed contract killing.

Its possibly not only the police who list him as “most wanted”. When he was awarded bail a co-defendant, an alleged senior mafia figure was given a significant jail sentence. The implication was that Potter was allowed bail as a reward for services rendered. He could therefore also be on a mafia “most wanted” list.

Those latter details were added to the end of the show mentioned above, so I think that confirms that the series has been given an update.

One part of the documentary that I found went too far, was its use of several crime scene (and possibly mortuary) photographs of Miss Barry’s naked remains. There was a token attempt at light pixilation but barely enough to give her even the slightest degree of modesty, or to protect the viewer from the gruesomeness of the atrocities she suffered.

Surely Kim Barry deserved so much more respect than that in death after enduring so much at the end of her life.


Kim Narelle Barry 1961-1981



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