Mima: A case of abduction, rape and murder

Mima: A case of abduction, rape and murder


Mima: A case of abduction, rape and murder

What really happened to Queensland woman Mima Joan McKim- Hill in 1967? Author Shirley Eldridge and Mima were friends and colleagues working for the Capricornia Regional Electricity Board in Rockhampton in 1967 when Mima disappeared while on the job. It was soon discovered that she had been abducted, raped and murdered and her body abandoned.

In her new book, Mima: A case of abduction, rape and murder Shirley tells this deeply personal story, from the events leading up to Mima's abduction, through to over 40 years later, with the re-evaluation of key evidence, the unravelling of lies, the exposing of bungles, and finally, the naming of Mima's killer.

This is a uniquely gripping tale of dogged persistence during the exhaustive investigation by a few who were determined to find justice.

Now WA-based, Shirley Eldridge's previous works include the novels Twenty-Four Seven and its sequel, Georgie-Girl which fictionalise her counselling experiences after working many years with Lifeline in counselling and suicide intervention training. Prior to that Shirley authored The Rocky Girl under her maiden name of Macaree. The Rocky Girl is set in Rockhampton and chronicles life in Queensland in the 1950s and '60s. It is the forerunner to Mima, Shirley's fourth and most important work.

Mima: A case of abduction, rape and murder
Short Stop Press
Author: Shirley Eldridge
RRP: $34.99


Interview with Shirley Eldridge

Question: What inspired you to write Mima: A case of abduction, rape and murder?

Shirley Eldridge: I was a reluctant writer. I felt obligated, rather than inspired, to write about Mima's murder. I felt duty bound, since I had the information and the skills and this was the last thing I could do for Mima, for her family and for all who knew her. During the writing, I often walked away from the developing manuscript because of having to face into the ugliness of the crime and the incompetence and the lies surrounding the initial enquiry yet one more time. The contents of the book are the only justice Mima is ever going to get. And – as the saying goes – -If not me … who?'


Question: Was it difficult to write about someone you knew?

Shirley Eldridge: Some sections of writing about Mima were easy because I was recalling the good times, including her weird sense of humour, but when it came to writing about things like the struggle she must have gone through as she was abducted from the vehicle where her right elbow was dislocated, or the state of her body when found after 17 days in the bush, my mind could barely cope. To see Mima's father's face just after he identified her body will haunt me forever.


Question: Can you talk us through your research for the book?

Shirley Eldridge: I acquired and read several times over, the 350 pages plus Coronial Inquest transcript document along with the witness statements, but it wasn't until the book was published that I could bring myself to read, in its entirety, the Post Mortem Examination Report. I think I was becoming desensitized by then. Trevor had sent me over 550 detailed and lengthy emails of outcomes of his findings during his investigations where he'd interviewed many of the original witnesses. The flip side of the research was to read books the True Crime genre – not one I would normally choose – in order to write effectively. I discovered there was a new trend for writers to place themselves in the story (eg Helen Garner's -This House of Grief'). It dawned upon me that my book is probably unique in that I was part of the story from the beginning.


Question: Why was it important to include photos, maps & timelines?

Shirley Eldridge: It was important to include photos so the reader could get to know the 1960s, the places mentioned, the people involved, and some of the evidence. It was delightful to finish the book with showing a pictorial Mima growing up, rather than Mima the victim of murder. Maps and timelines were included so that those who want to explore and understand in full detail can do so.

Mima: A case of abduction, rape and murder
Short Stop Press
Author: Shirley Eldridge
RRP: $34.99


Interview by Brooke Hunter




MORE