Robert Lowe

 


The Murder of Sheree (Mandile) Beasley

June 29th 1991

 

Sheree Beasley was born on February 25th 1985.  Her short life ended brutally on June 29th 1991 age six years.

 

Robert Arthur Selby Lowe was born in England in 1937.  His godfather was the Minister of Edinburgh’s Presbyterian Church and fuure Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II.  He attended boarding schools both in England and in NewZealand.

 

Robert Lowe was not only a well –spoken, well -respected salesman, but a Presbyterian Church Elder, Junior Cricket Coach and Sunday school Teacher.   He was well liked and admired among his peers, and by his family.

 

What was to be revealed, not through a swift process by any means, was that Lowe was also a Pathological Liar, Exhibitionist, Kidnapper, Paedophile, Rapist and Murderer.

 

Looking back on Lowe’s criminal history, it is clear to the observer that he was a human time bomb destined to go off at some point.  How the various courts both in Australia and NewZealand failed to see this is beyond understanding. 

 

LOWE’S CRIMINAL “HISTORY”

 

·         In 1956 Robert, then 19, stole a car in England and tried to run down a policeman.  He was fined 21 pounds.

·         Between 1959 and 1965 Lowe was arrested and charged in NewZealand on counts of Indecent Assault on a male, and Theft.  For these he received fines.

·         Also between 1959 and 1965 he faced two charges (three and a half years apart) in NewZealand with wilful and obscene exposure for which he served a six month prison sentence.

·         In 1964, he was branded “rogue and vagabond” by the courts of NewZealand.

·         After moving to Australia, and more peculiarly since he married, he had been interviewed on more than a dozen occasions and has appeared in court on charges of indecent behaviour, loitering for sexual purposes, wilful and obscene exposure and theft.

 

Lowe’s wife Lorraine (nee Sangster) had herself, an extremely religious upbringing, only escaping the confines of the “The Exclusive Brethren” at twenty-nine.  Alone and friendless, she prayed in 1970 for a friend for Christmas.  She met Robert Lowe after the service, and thought her prayer had been answered.  How could she possibly know that she had just stepped into her worst nightmare?  Lorraine knew little of her husband’s activities, and nothing of his past, until the brutal murder of Sheree Beasley made them so glaringly clear that she could ignore them no longer.  The most experienced detective on the working to find Sheree’s killer said that he had never understood the concept of evil until he met Robert Arthur Selby Lowe.

 

June 29th 1991

 

On June 29th 1991 a neighbour reported to Shane and Kerrie Ludlow that she had found Kerrie’s daughter Sheree’s bicycle abandoned.  Sheree had been out several times that day on her bike to the local milk bar, and to check to see if the mini golf was open.  Shane ran out into the street………  This was the beginning of a long haul for not only Sheree’s family, but for Lorraine Lowe, her teenage sons Benjamin and Jonathan, and a huge police contingent.

 

Neighbours and police alike suggested that perhaps Sheree had meandered off to play with one of her friends.  All were sure she’d bound through the door at any moment.  What in fact had happened (and what took literally years to corroborate), was that Robert Arthur Selby Lowe had forced Sheree into his Blue Toyota Corolla Hatchback (a company car), and driven off.  He first asked her if she wanted to go with him, but as her response was “no way”; he got out and piled her into the car himself.  She was still wearing her pink “stack hat”.

 

Because Lowe was a habitual liar, it was difficult for the police to piece together the course of events, which had led to the discovery of Sheree’s badly decomposed body much later.

*  At first, Lowe denied any involvement whatsoever.  He went on several times to change his story and to hypothesise on what the course of events could have been if he had been involved.

·         On tape, Lowe described how he had driven up and asked the girl if she wanted a ride home and how she had come willingly with him.  She appeared upset and incoherent and told him he was going the wrong way when he tried to find where she lived.  Lowe said that Sheree became more upset when he said he couldn’t get off the freeway and would have to drive a little further.  He says he pulled up on the side of the road and tried to calm her down, but she started to choke.  He says he tried to help her but he was unable to.  Then, he said, in a state of panic, he ruled out taking her to the hospital, as they would undoubtedly need to know the circumstances under which she arrived there.  Sheree died.  He knew he had no time to “muck around”, so he drove to the back of  “Arthur’s Seat”, near Rosebud where he and his wife had gone pineconing recently, and laid poor little Sheree to rest in a filthy drain.  Her helmet and clothing he removed as he said he could not fit her in without doing so.  “I tried to see if she would fit there and it looked very tight.  I had her clothes off and I said a prayer.  I put her there gently…. Very gently, slid her in, pushed her with my hands.  Pushed her in a bit further then covered the whole drain.”

 

Much of Lowe’s story was proven to be fiction.  Sheree’s friend, with whom she was riding, testified that a man had forced her into the car.  She had not gone willingly.

 

·         Although Lowe had said he had left Sheree wearing her underwear, she was found without underpants on.

·         Lowe had confessed to two other prisoners that he had abducted Sheree.  He told them that Sheree’s pink tracksuit had been dumped in a rubbish bin at the Mt Waverley Shopping Centre as it had been covered in sperm.  The clothing was never found.

·         Fellow prisoner, Peter Reid said Lowe had proudly boasted that he had cleaned the driveway under the car after cleaning up Sheree’s blood.  He said also that he had learned his lesson this time, and next time he would use Valium.

·         Reid also testified, that Lowe had told him that Sheree had in fact choked while being forced to perform oral sex on him.  He avoided these words however, calling them “dirty acts”.

 

OBSESSION

In court, Lorraine Lowe testified that her husband was obsessed with the details of the Karmein Chan murder, and had prayed for her both at church and at home.  He was similarly obsessed with the Azaria Chaimberlain case and had often claimed the police were “always going after good church-going people”.  It was later discovered that Lowe had in fact written to Michael Chaimberlain, who in turn wrote to Lowe’s Psychologist Margaret Hobbs and asked her to advise her client not to write again.  He also tried to visit the Chaimberlains while on a trip, but found them not home.

 

Robert Lowe had been in “therapy” with Margaret Hobbs, Psychotherapist, for several years.  Margaret had been successful in treating exhibitionists who displayed similar traits to those that Lowe had been unable to suppress most of his life. Margaret suggested at one point to Lowe himself, that he had modelled “this” on the Chaimberlain case.  She said he had the missing child, the missing clothes and the religious background.  Lowe’s response to this was “yeah but Michael and Lindy stuck together”.

 

Against her ethical status, she felt compelled to assist the police in bringing Lowe to justice.  (Her ethics were in fact questioned several times throughout Lowe’s trial).  She had seen or spoken with the police at least once a month since being approached in August of 1991.  She had made an anonymous phone call to Crimestoppers after a discussion with Robert that made her think he was involved in Sheree’s murder.

 

It was Margaret who finally gave the police what they had been after.  Robert had left with her a copy of his “confession”.  She did not believe she had a choice in handing over the written document.  However her need to do so was circumvented, when Lowe was caught the same day, shoplifting a packet of M&M’s with his copy of the document in his possession. 

 

THE TRIAL OF ROBERT ARTHUR SELBY LOWE

 

On the last day of his committal hearing, Robert Arthur Selby Lowe pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping and murder of Sheree Beasley.  He was committed to stand trial.  On October 27th, 1994, three years and four months after Sheree was murdered, six men and six women were empanelled to sit in Judgement of him.

 

On November 30th 1994, the jury brought in a unanimous verdict.  Lowe was found guilty of kidnapping Sheree and was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment.  He was then charged guilty with the murder of Sheree Beazley (Mandile) and was sentenced to life imprisonment, his files were marked never to be released, the harshest penalty available in Australia.

 

The judge passed the sentences with the emphatic statement “and Mr Lowe, Life means life!”

 


Bibliography: News articles from time of the trial

 

Written by Kalmar

Copyright © 2002  by [The Crime Web].

Except as provided by the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system  or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the author.
Original Written:
February 3, 2002

Updated: February 4, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

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