The case of

Janine Balding

Victim

Janine Balding

Victim Race

Caucasian

Victim Date of Birth

1967-10-07

Victim Age

20

Date Reported

1988-09-08

Date of Death

1988-09-08

Case Status

Closed

Incident Location

Sutherland, Sydney, Australia

Body Location

Minchinbury, New Sout Wales, Australia

Date of Conviction

May, 1990

Body Discovered Date

1988-09-10

Murderer

Matthew James Elliott, Bronson Matthew Blessington, Stephen Wayne 'Shorty' Jamieson, Wayne Wilmot and Carol Ann Arrowt

Who was Janine Balding?

Janine Balding was born in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, on October 7, 1967. Janine was the second of 4 siblings, the daughter of parents who married very young.

Her parents describe her as a lively, energetic child with a knack for making friends. She was considered by her parents and grandparents as the joy of the house, always getting into mischief and snooping around.

Her blonde hair and smile caught everyone’s attention, and she always showed a very good attitude to help and collaborate.

Her parents decided to let her go to Sydney when she was older. Her older sister lived there, so they both moved to an apartment that the family had in the capital of Australia, in a neighborhood near the city’s coastal area.

While in Sydney, she started working as a bank teller, and shortly after, in 1987, she met firefighter Steve Moran, and in April of the following year, he asked her to marry him. Janine accepted and immediately became his fiancée.

Her parents tell that the couple was very much in love and were making many plans together for the wedding and to begin their married life.

On Wednesday, September 7, 1988, Janine spent the night with Steve, her fiancé. The next day, she left her car at the Sutherland Railway Station and decided to go by train to the State Bank of New South Wales on George Street, where she worked.

The central station is very busy with many passengers, including tourists, city dwellers, and homeless youths, who seek to spend the night inside the trains so they can sleep indoors and in a warm place.

On Thursday evening, September 8, 1988, Janine Balding was on her way home from work and went to the train station to pick up her car to go home. That day she disappeared.

The Day Janine Balding Disappeared

Janine was at Steve’s house on September 7, 1988; even though she lived with her sister, she decided to stay over.

On the morning of September 8, 1988, Janine got up very early as she did every day, ate breakfast, and got ready to leave for work. She said goodbye to her boyfriend that morning and got into her car to drive to Sutherland Central Station, where, like every day, she would take a train to the bank where she worked.

Janine drove to the train station parking lot and left her car there. She then walked inside the station to board the train that would take her to her job.

Later that day, Janine left the bank and went to catch a train home. The train usually arrives at the station at approximately 6 p.m. every day.

Upon exiting the train, Janine walked to the parking lot where she had left her car. Once there, a group of young men approached her.

One of the boys asked her the time and asked her for cigarettes; Janine Balding replied that she didn’t smoke, so she didn’t have any cigarettes with her.

What Janine didn’t know was this would be the last time anyone would see her alive.

The Brutal Murder of Janine Balding

That afternoon on September 8, 1988, Janine left the train station and walked to the parking lot to get her car so she could return home.

Just before she got into her car, a group of 5 young men approached Janine to ask her the time and to ask if she had any cigarettes. Janine told them that she did not smoke and just then they attacked her and got her into the car to kidnap her.

As Janine screamed, one of the young men drove and the rest tried to shut her up. They drove the car all along the side of the F4 highway west of Sydney. As they drove along the highway, she was stripped of her clothes and, threatened by a knife, was savagely raped inside the car.

Janine was screaming for them to please leave her, however, she was sexually abused by 3 men in the back seat of the car. While a girl was sitting in the passenger seat and another guy was driving.

Even though the girl was in the front seat hearing Janine’s screams, she did nothing to stop the attack. Along the way, they all decided it was a good time to kill her while laughing at Janine.

At a point on the F4 highway, they stopped the car near the Minchinbury neighborhoods. They dragged her out of the car as Janine gave cries of despair.

Once they got her out of the car, they raped her again on the highway. Once they were done, they gagged her and tied her in a fetal position, then dragged her all over the dirt road and through the bushes.

They loaded her up and carried her into a dam near a lake. While there, they plunged her head into the water; as Janine struggled for her life, her hand became entangled in the seaweed and fractured.

They kept forcing her face into the water until Janine drowned to death. When they saw that Janine was dead, they removed all of her clothes, and her cards and got back into their car to leave the crime scene.

Criminal and Homeless Youth

The youths involved in the murder of Janine Balding were all homeless boys, most of them minors.

Matthew Elliot had a criminal history of robbery, and arson and had also been involved in carjackings.

Stephen Wayne ‘shorty’ Jamieson, on the other hand, was known by that nickname because he had a rickety appearance, due to his mother consuming large amounts of alcohol during her pregnancy. He also had a criminal record for robbery and some sexual assaults.

Wayne Lindsay Wilmot, who was 15 years old at the time of the murder and had been in state custody since he was 5. Although he was given the opportunity to live in foster care, he preferred to remain on the streets and was also found to have offenses for robbery and sexual assault.

The last to join the group involved in the murder were 15-year-old Carol Ann Arrow, Wayne’s girlfriend, and Bronson Blessington, a 14-year-old offender who had been living on the street since he was 9.

They all met on the street and according to the confessions of each one, they met on the same day of Janine’s disappearance, to plan the kidnapping of some girl.

Investigation Details

A few minutes before Janine’s disappearance, a girl named Christine had also been approached by the same group of young men. However, this one was much more astute and was able to start her car and drive away from the scene.

The girl arrived home and told her boyfriend what had happened, he accompanied her back to the scene to see if he could see them. They passed by the scene when they saw the same group of boys approaching a girl, Christine and her boyfriend went to a police station to report it.

When the police officers arrived, they found nothing, however, they had gone to the wrong parking lot. They then drove to the correct parking lot but found nothing.

Janine Balding’s sister left her house the day after the disappearance but thought she was sleeping. Then, she received a call from the bank asking why she hadn’t shown up for work, and that’s when they realized she was nowhere to be found.

Her boyfriend had not seen her since the previous morning and assumed she was at her sister’s house.

The police investigation began and they found Janine’s car abandoned on the highway. Inside the car were dirty clothes, a shoe, and a yellow-handled knife.

Two boys who were at the homeless youth center confessed to a social worker that they had stolen a car. These two boys were 16-Year-Old Matthew Elliott and 14-Year-Old Bronson Matthew Blessington.

When they alerted the police, the boys were questioned and spoke of a yellow-handled knife. Seeing that they had linked the theft to Janine’s disappearance, they agreed to cooperate with the investigation, saying they knew what had happened and were not sure if the girl was dead.

Both Mathew and Bronson led one of the detectives to the place where Janine had been left. They found Janine Balding’s body floating in the water.

After finding the body, the boys told the police that there were 3 more people with them that night. They gave the names 22-Year-Old Stephen Wayne ‘shorty Jamieson’, 15-year-Old Wayne Wilmot, and Carol Ann Arrow.

Further investigation revealed that the boys sold one of Janine’s rings and that they had gone to several stores where they were seen covered in mud.

Trial

The first trial of the group of teenagers was suspended because they framed another young man from the street. The police located him; however, the boy’s alibi could be verified, and he was ruled out as a suspect.

Christine, the girl who minutes before Janine’s abduction, had a meeting with the teenagers, identified all of the youths.

During the first interrogations, the youths gave their testimonies blaming each other and none of them admitted having murdered Janine.

Months later, before the second trial, the murder charges against Wayne Wilmot were dropped, as he admitted only to raping Janine and waiting in the car with Carol Ann Arrow while the others murdered her.

Due to Carol Arrow’s intellectual incapacity, the murder charges were also dropped.

The trial began in May 1990. Wayne Wilmot and Carol Ann Arrow were found guilty of accessory to murder.

The trial judge found Stephen Jamieson, Mathew Elliot, and Bronson Blessington guilty of first-degree murder.

The trial’s outcome sparked public outrage, with the community expecting all involved to receive death sentences.

The Australian government and prison systems had not yet determined certain standards concerning juvenile trials.

Verdict

Stephen Wayne Jamieson, Mattew Elliot, and Bronson Blessington were sentenced to life plus 25 years in prison.

Wayne Wilmot was sentenced to 9 years and 4 months in prison. He served seven-and-a-half years before being paroled.

Carol Arrow was sentenced to a 3-year bond for good behavior, plus a 19-month remand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where was Janine Balding’s body found?

Janine Balding’s body was found floating in a dam in Minchinbury, west of Sydney in Australia.

Who is Janine Balding?

Janine Balding was a woman from New South Wales who was abducted, raped, and murdered on September 8, 1988.

What happened to Bronson Blessington?

Bronson Blessington is serving his sentence at the Nowra South Coast Correctional Centre in New South Wales, Australia.

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