On January 12th 1965, NSW Police were dispatched to Wanda Beach where they recovered the remains of teenagers Christine Sharrock and Marianne Schmidt; partly buried in the sand dunes. They had been dead less than 24 hours when another teen found their mutilated bodies. No one was held responsible in 1965, or since. It remains, a cold case.
By 1973 when the police brief was archived, there were approximately 80 volumes of records; over 10,000 pages with 14,000 persons having been interviewed in relation to the murders.
The crime is one of Australia’s most infamous unsolved murders; so much so that to even mention ‘Wanda Beach’ today, sends flashbacks to baby boomers who remember the story.
On a windy Monday during the summer school holidays, teenage neighbours Marianne Schmidt and Mary Sharrock went to Sydney’s popular Cronulla Beach area with Marianne’s younger siblings. After a picnic, the younger children stayed in a sheltered area and the two 15-year-olds girls were seen talking to a fair-haired youth.
Peter Schmidt, 10, saw his sister and her friend with the teenager. His brother Wolfgang, 7, had also seen them talking to the boy earlier. Had they gone off into the dunes with this youth, only to be murdered?
Ernie Percy took holidays with his family to coincide with yacht races around Australia. The yacht, Astor had won line honours in the Sydney to Hobart race that summer and the National Regatta was hosted by the BBYC.
The family stayed with Derek Percy’s granny; walking distance from West Ryde railway station where the two girls caught the train to Wanda Beach that fateful Monday. Was Derek on that same train?
It wasn’t until four years later, in July 1969 when Derek Percy was arrested for the murder of Yvonne Elizabeth Tuohy, that he came to the attention of the Wanda Beach murder squad.
Derek Percy fitted the identikit, something Percy’s fellow school students hadn’t missed. The boys noticed the resemblance and commented at the time, however their taunting of sixteen year-old Derek Percy in a little country town in northern Victoria was too far from the city to be heard.
The suspects at the time were excluded from police enquiries, although Sydney-sider Christopher Wilder went on to become a ‘spree killer’ in the U.S. in 1984. We have checked Wilder’s natal chart with the Wanda Beach murders and also exclude him from our astrology enquiry into this case. There are no forensic indicators to connect him to the crime.
As for Alan Raymond Bassett, initially we were stymied from obtaining his birth data, much to our frustration. Sometimes privacy laws can be a real hindrance. Bassett was convicted of the murder of Carolyn May Orphin in Wollongong the following year, 1966. Police were inclined to dismiss him as a suspect in the Wanda Beach murders.
PS: We now have Bassett’s birth data – charts do not indicate that he was connected to the Wanda Beach murders. We therefore remove him from our astrology enquiry.
So we continue our astrology enquiry with Derek Ernest Percy and one other predator who was convicted many years later of a sexual crime against a minor – Eric Lowe Porter Woodleigh. Although not a convicted killer, Woodleigh has to remain in our enquiry due to his likely presence at the scene.
We don’t know a lot about the man, however as he was of an age that could reveal military training, Wedgetailegal checked the military records for WWII. We have no trained killer, or war hero here. Woodleigh enlisted in the army in 1941, but was discharged before he even made it overseas. Declared unfit – he had syphilis.
Penicillin hadn’t yet made it into general use and so we do not know whether this disease was congenital syphilis, or Woodleigh was infected by sexual transmission. Whether this impacted on his psyche, we do not know.
We’ve seen enough of the result of syphilis when we enquired of the suspects in the Jack the Ripper case, so having the disease probably didn’t help matters, however having contracted syphilis doesn’t make a man a paedophile or a killer.
Woodleigh worked many casual jobs from council cleaner, to bus driver and food vendor – running the Wanda Beach kiosk at one stage. We proposed in Part 1 that Woodleigh was likely the person at the Wanda Beach kiosk who plied Christine Sharrock with the alcohol found at autopsy; in the contents of her stomach.
As far as our astrology enquiry goes, we have already compared Woodleigh’s natal chart with that of Derek Percy and interpreted the connection between the two, however we need to enquire of them as individuals in relation to the murders at Wanda Beach.
When we generate a bi-wheel (method) from the perspective of the event on that Monday 11th January, 1965 and add the natal chart of Eric Woodleigh, we can interpret the resulting tension between the planets.
Note that the inner wheel is the event and the outer wheel is the natal chart of Woodleigh. Immediately we note that the angles are in play, however the transiting Lunar nodal axis is quiet – that’s one of the main forensic indicators for the trauma of the event; the murder.
- The invisible man, natal Neptune (turquoise) is at the IC/MC axis – he slipped under the police radar, being ‘behind the counter’ at the time.
- Natal Lunar nodal axis is at the Ascendant/Descendant – he is traumatised by the event, however not necessarily the creator of the trauma.
- Transiting Saturn (grim reaper) is conjunct natal Uranus in the 10th house/career – this is a forensic indicator creating sudden changes in this man. We know that the event led to a quick change in career, leaving his address, plus a switch to an alias.
- Transiting Saturn is also opposite his natal Moon – the event drove his needs forward at home (4th house)
- Obsessive behaviour is also present at this point with transiting Saturn quindecile natal Jupiter (green) inflating his sense of authority into the 5th house (his children).
- Transiting Pluto is conjunct natal Jupiter – look out, kids, the strap is out..
- Transiting Neptune (turquoise) conjunct natal Mercury (communication) – secrets and alibis in the public sector.
Note that this aspect (Neptune conjunct Mercury) could also be interpreted as the fabulist indicator – where his family believed that their father was the Wanda Beach murderer. If so, then we can suggest that Woodleigh would have allowed this fantasy (Neptune) to fester and breed for his own agenda.
I’m sure many fathers controlled their children with a similar threat, without considering the damage that they might do to their children’s psyche.
Despite the lack of natal Mars in the bi-wheel – indication of action, we still have to seriously consider Woodleigh as a possible perpetrator of these murders, however there is still the chart of Derek Percy to consider.
We have the advantage of hindsight, having two bi-wheels of Derek Percy/crime events to hand (Beaumont children’s abduction and Linda Stilwell murder) and so we are familiar with Percy’s FA indicators. If these Wanda Beach murders were his first victims, then there may very well be some revealing aspects and even perhaps the hint of what was to come.
Similarly to Woodleigh, albeit reversed, we have the natal Lunar nodal axis at the Asc/Desc axis indicating trauma for the individual; in a public place. What is different, is that the transiting lunar nodal axis is also in the mix with this bi-wheel.
- Natal Moon (blue) at the MC/cusp of the 10th; the career house. This driving need is Derek Percy’s career. Employment will just be to finance this career. He will spend more time planning expansion of this career, than earning a living.
- Natal Venus/Pluto= IC – acceptance of the indomitable.
With the Moon opposite this tension, we can interpret this ‘acceptance of the indomitable’ as Derek Percy’s acceptance of his driving need. It is as a love affair brought out into the open – an internal love affair, an art form.
- Natal Mars is in the action, creating a midpoint at the descendant – Mars/South Node=Descendant – this could be interpreted as meeting with evil (karma) to get the work done.
- Natal Sun is 22° Virgo square the transiting lunar nodal axis. We note the Serbian ominous 22 ° together with methodical Virgo in tension with the traumatic event itself. He is likely carrying out rituals that only he knows the meaning of.
- Natal Sun (orange) is also the midpoint of transiting Mars/Pluto – if that’s not a nod to the underworld of Greco/Roman mythology, then nothing is.
The bodies of the two 15 year-old girls were mutilated. Christine had a fractured skull, likely inflicted when she was run down and Marianne had a stab wound to the heart so there would have been little struggle once the knife was out. The mutilations were likely a frenzied ritualistic attack; a release of pent-up rage by the killer.
The perpetrator learned one thing at the very least, from this event. He would carry restraints with him next time. He would undoubtedly kill again, refining his art.
Even without any other data, I have no hesitation in suggesting that Derek Percy is the Wanda Beach killer. Eric Woodleigh might have been a sexual predator, but he is not even in Percy’s league, as a killer.
Derek Percy died in prison on July 23, 2013; life without parole.
Note for astrologers: Here are the two bi-wheels side by side – in order for you to compare the tension of the event.