True Crime

30-year heartbreak – who killed Kerry Turner?

John Turner and his family want to know what happened to their girl

After three decades of pain, John and his family are desperate for answers.

Here, John Turner, 76, from Perth, WA, tells his story in his own words.

My heart burst with pride as I watched my two girls walking down the aisle.  

It was 1989. Claire, then 20, was marrying her fiancé, Michael, and Kerry, 16, was her bridesmaid.   

‘They look beautiful,’ my wife Sue smiled.   

It was a gorgeous family day, but also bittersweet as we all felt the absence of our son, James, who’d died four years before, aged 18.   

Losing him had been incredibly tough on us all, and Sue had wanted to wrap the girls with cotton wool.   

With Claire now married, Kerry was the only one still at home. Bubbly and full of life, she adored kids, so it was no surprise when she started working at a daycare centre.  

But at the beginning of 1990, Kerry fractured her pelvis when another driver crashed into the side of her car. Spending months in rehab, she had to quit her job.  

‘I just want to get my life back,’ she said, sadly.  

‘It’ll take time, love,’ Sue told her.

By June the next year, she was thankfully in a much better headspace. Then 18, Kerry had picked up work at a store warehouse and enjoyed hanging out with friends.   

‘I’m staying at Kylie’s tonight,’ she told us one Saturday afternoon.   

‘Have fun. Just keep in touch with us,’ Sue said.   

‘See you tomorrow,’ I said, waving her off.  

James, Sue, Kerry and Claire Turner
James, Sue, Kerry and Claire

A workmate, Kylie lived in Armadale, on the south-eastern edge of Perth. 

Later that day, June 29, Kerry phoned to say they weren’t going out anymore so she’d be back that night.   

A little later, she called again. ‘We’re going out after all. I’ll stay at Kylie’s and be back tomorrow,’ she said.  

‘Okay; be careful. See you then,’ Sue said.   

We had no idea it would be a fateful decision…  

Sue and I were expecting Kerry back on Sunday evening as she had work the next day.   

But that night, there was no sign of our girl.  

As it got later, our concern grew. It was totally out of character.  

With no way of contacting her, we went to bed, hoping she’d turn up soon.  

But after a sleepless night, the next morning we went to the police.   

‘It’s normal for young people to go missing. She’s probably with friends,’ an officer said.  

‘Kerry isn’t like that,’ Sue insisted. ‘She always tells us where she is.’  

Still, they didn’t do anything. We phoned Claire who was just as perplexed.   

‘This isn’t like her,’ she agreed.  

Sick with worry, we continued phoning the police, but it wasn’t until the Wednesday that they launched a search.  

Kylie told officers that the two of them had hitchhiked into the city as they didn’t want to drink and drive.  

They’d gone to a nightclub but had got separated inside.  

I started my own search party with locals, looking high and low for my daughter. But she was nowhere to be found.  

‘I just want her home,’ Sue cried.  

‘I know, love,’ I said, comforting her. ‘She’s out there somewhere.’  

Trying to stay positive, I refused to accept anything else was possible.  

Then, four weeks after Kerry’s disappearance, police arrived at our door.  

Claire and Kerry Turner
Claire and Kerry at Claire’s wedding

Our precious girl’s body had been found in bushland near Canning Dam.  

Devastatingly, it was the same date that we’d lost our son, James, six years prior.  

It was heartbreaking. I felt like everything in the world had been destroyed.  

‘No,’ Sue sobbed.  

We had to go and tell Claire, who was just as distraught. None of it felt real, I was empty. How could another child have been stolen from us?  

Police pieced together Kerry’s last few hours from witnesses and CCTV.  

On Sunday June 30, 1991, she had left Pinocchio’s night club in Perth after 4am, alone. She’d got in a taxi and headed towards Kylie’s, but soon realised she didn’t have enough cash for the fare. So she got out of the cab at Shepperton Road near Millar Street, East Victoria Park.   

A witness in a takeaway shop saw a dark blue car, similar to a Datsun sedan, with spoked wheels, pull up behind Kerry.  

The driver called out and Kerry turned around. Then she walked over to the car, where she spoke to the person.  

She then climbed into the passenger side around 5am, and the vehicle drove off.  

That’s the last time she was ever seen. The car has never been traced.  

Over the years, police questioned people but no-one has ever been charged.  

Knowing our girl’s killer has got away with it is unbearable.  

John and Sue Turner
Me and Sue – we miss our girl every day

We feel we’ve been robbed of so many happy times – all the Christmases, birthdays, weddings and holidays where Kerry should be there. 

Sue and I have no doubt that if Kerry were here, we’d have grandkids by now, as she adored little ones.  

Claire now lives in the UK, but we speak regularly and always have a special phone call on Kerry’s birthday.   

It’s been 30 years since Kerry died and we think of her every single day.  

I’m urging for anyone who knows something, however small, to come forward.  

There is a $250,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction. 

You might hold the vital clue we desperately need. ● 

Can you help?

If you have any information about what happened to Kerry Turner on the morning of Sunday, June 30, 1991, phone Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000. 

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