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  • Published: 1 September 2014
  • ISBN: 9780857982957
  • Imprint: Ebury Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $34.99

The Family Court Murders

Now a Major ABC-TV Series




Now a major ABC-TV series, screening in May 2022.
This is the definitive story of the Family Court Murders and the book that set off the investigation into and charging of Leonard Warwick.

4 murders. 5 bombings. And until 2015, no one charged. The definitive story of the Family Court Murders and the book that set off the investigation into and charging of Leonard Warwick, who in September 2020, was sentenced to life in prison.

An initiative of the Whitlam Government, the so-called ‘helping court’ opened its doors in January 1976. But despite the high idealism of the court’s creators, they failed to factor in one universal truth: that in a marital tug of war, one side would always feel more embittered than the other.

Despite the brazen enormity of the shootings and bombings in Sydney from 1980 – attacks that hit at the very heart of the judicial system – and a prime suspect publicly named by the Coroner, the police investigation failed to culminate in an arrest and after three decades stalled to a benign ‘review’ status. Following a tip-off from a possible witness, the Channel 7 Sunday Night program determined to investigate this cold case. Award-winning true-crime writer and investigative journalist Debi Marshall was part of the team who worked this story.

Decades on, the horror of these crimes still haunts everyone involved. Witnesses were frightened to speak. Family members lived in the dark shadows of grief and fear. Widows and children lived without closure. To break this uneasy silence, Marshall embarked on a terrifying journey into the dark heart of the Family Court murders – and the prime suspect.

What she uncovered will shock and outrage.

In July 2020 Leonard Warwick was convicted and in September 2020 given a life sentence, never to be released.

  • Published: 1 September 2014
  • ISBN: 9780857982957
  • Imprint: Ebury Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $34.99

About the author

Debi Marshall

Debi Marshall is a journalist, producer for television and author who lives in Hobart. As a reporter and writer, Debi Marshall specialises in true crime. She has written eight books. Each combines her excellent storytelling skills with her forensic approach to accurate research.
Her book, Justice in Jeopardy, helped overturn Australia’s double jeopardy laws. At all times, despite frequent personal danger and threats, she has been motivated to seek truth and justice and has worked with the highest ethical considerations to tell dark and challenging stories.
Her book on the notorious Snowtown serial murders, Killing for Pleasure, won the 2007 Ned Kelly award for Best True Crime.
Debi Marshall always sets out to establish a bond of trust with victims and their families, and with witnesses who came forward to tell her their stories.
Working as a producer with Channel 7’s Sunday Night program she investigated the Family Court Murders of 1980 – 1985. Then conducted further research to write The Family Court Murders. Leonard Warwick was subsequently arrested over these matters.
Debi has also been a tutor in journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney and as a teacher of media at college. Her other books include The House of Hancock and The Devil's Garden. Her books have twice been long-listed for a Walkley Award.
Debi Marshall won a Walkley Leadership Award in 2015.

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Praise for The Family Court Murders

TV presenter Debi Marshall goes into the case in great depth, a combination of the dramatically reconstructed TV doco, with shades of In Cold Blood. After years of being a cold case, in 2020 Leonard Warwick was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Highly researched and atmospheric, republished to coincide with the ABC TV series.

Cameron Woodhead, the Age

Awards & recognition

Ned Kelly Award for Best True Crime

Shortlisted  •  2014  •  Ned Kelly Award for Best True Crime of 2014

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