REAL LIFE

Man who raped and murdered schoolgirl in her BEDROOM up for day release

'He needs to stay in jail'
9NEWS

Sarah Keegan was just seven when her neighbour, Rodney Thomas Clarke, climbed in through her bedroom window and raped and killed her big sister, Debbie, nine.

Twenty years on, her sister’s killer has been recommended for day release.

‘He needs to stay [in jail],’ Sarah told 9NEWS.

‘My family’s the one that’s been given the life sentence, not him.’

Clarke was 21 when he noticed that the girls’ mother Suzanne was asleep on their lounge, according to 9NEWS.

Scaling a ladder, he broke in, put his hands over Debbie’s mouth when she screamed and raped her three times.

It’s haunted Sarah her entire life.

Debbie Keegan’s sister, Sarah. (Credit: 9NEWS)

‘I remember hearing my sister saying, ‘who are you, what are you doing?’,’ Sarah said.

‘And he told her to go back to sleep and he walked out of the room.

‘He was gone for a while, and I remember hearing him come back in the room.

‘It’s pretty hard not knowing what would have happened if I had said something.’

In 1988, Clarke was sentenced to life in prison for murder and 60 years for three counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10.

In 2005, he was granted the opportunity for parole and his sentence was redetermined to 28 years, according to 9NEWS.

He applied for parole in 2015 and 2016 and he was denied on both occasions. 

Related stories