Fatal attraction transcript: Part 1
Fatal attraction transcript: Part 1

Go to full story details

ROSS COULTHART: March 1994. A fire engulfs a car on a country road in Scotland. Claire Morris, married less than a year, dies in the blaze.

Peter Morris: The purpose of his meeting Claire was to groom her for the purpose of marrying her, gaining her estates and killing her. Malcolm Webster is possibly the most subtle, clever, most heinous, evil, person that is beyond most people's imaginations. The really scary thing about Malcolm Webster is that he appears to be completely normal.

ROSS COULTHART: Malcolm Webster got away with murder in Scotland. Claire Morris never suspected her charming husband was really a monster. And his murderous ways were far from over. Is there any doubt in your mind that there would be people in Australia who would be his victims?

Peter Morris: If he has worked and lived in Australia, it would be highly likely.

ROSS COULTHART: English-born Claire Morris was raised in the country town of Ouyen, in the heart of Australia's Murray.

Peter Morris: She was a wonderful sister. She was the most happy, social, gregarious, full-of-life person that I've ever met.

ROSS COULTHART: You loved her to bits?

Peter Morris: Oh, absolutely, yes.

ROSS COULTHART: When the family moved back to England, Claire became a nurse and in 1991, she met a fellow nurse, Malcolm Webster, the son of
a high-ranking British policeman.

Peter Morris: She was smitten. Besotted with him. She was absolutely besotted with him.

ROSS COULTHART: It was a whirlwind romance. Two years later, they married. Malcolm Webster, the perfect husband. Eight months after the wedding, a country drive ends in an inferno.....killing Claire, Webster playing the role of a grieving widow.

Derek Ogg: This looked for all the world like a desperately tragic accident. The initial inquiry had been on the basis of the information from Malcolm Webster, that a motorcyclist had run him off the road, so considerable inquiries were made to find that motorcyclist, unsuccessfully. From a criminal point of view, that was the only crime on the table and the inquiry was closed, so nothing further was done.

Peter Morris: God bless you, Claire. Malcolm came down to the funeral in
a wheelchair with a neck brace on. I remember holding his left hand and I know I was certainly in floods of tears as they were lowering Claire's coffin into the grave and I looked at him and so was he. And that persuaded me, for 14 years, that the accident was a genuine accident because I had no perception, no perception whatsoever, that anybody could fake that sort of emotion - that was something I couldn't believe.

ROSS COULTHART: Webster did very well out of Claire's death, didn't he?

Peter Morris: Financially, he gained about £200,000.

ROSS COULTHART: There was a life insurance policy?

Peter Morris: Yep.

ROSS COULTHART: There was 20,000 sterling in the bank?

Peter Morris: She'd saved up £20,000 from her nursing, yes.

ROSS COULTHART: What did he spend the money on?

Peter Morris: From what I've found out, he spent it on a yacht, an expensive car, and apparently, lavish gifts for girlfriends that he acquired pretty quickly after Claire's death.

ROSS COULTHART: First impressions?

Felicity Drumm Quite charming and quite amusing. We were sitting next to each other at a dinner party and he was quite good company.

ROSS COULTHART: So you fell in love?

Felicity Drumm: Eventually, yes. Yes.

ROSS COULTHART: Like Webster's first wife, Felicity Drumm was also a nurse.

ROSS COULTHART: Early on in the relationship, unusual things started to happen.

Felicity Drumm: We'd been out for the day at a local seaside town, brought provisions for meals for a couple of nights. Came back and I'd made dinner and put other things away in the fridge and literally, when I woke up at what I thought was the next morning, instead, it became apparent over time that in fact, it was 36 hours later and I'd slept right through the preceding day.

ROSS COULTHART: Did it ever cross your mind you'd been drugged?

Felicity Drumm: No, not at all.

ROSS COULTHART: How would he have drugged you if you'd been the one
that had prepared the food?

Felicity Drumm: It was Malcolm's habit, always, to make me a cup of tea after meals.

ROSS COULTHART: Felicity had no idea she was being drugged or that Webster was grooming her to be his next victim. Did you know anything about the life insurance policies that he'd taken out in your name?

Felicity Drumm: No - I knew of two life insurance policies which were ones we had discussed but I wasn't aware of all the others - I think there were a total of nine.

ROSS COULTHART: Nine life insurance policies? For a total of how much money?

Felicity Drumm: I think, at the current exchange of the time, I was worth $1.9 million dead.

ROSS COULTHART: They were married in New Zealand in 1997. A year later, a baby boy. The whole time, Webster was plotting the perfect murder and yet again, it was to happen on a quiet drive in the country.

Felicity Drumm: He was very insistent that we go somewhere remote, he wanted to be somewhere that was isolated, that there was no-one else
that was going to be there. He wanted solitude, he said.

ROSS COULTHART: Before they left, Webster secretly planted a jerry can of petrol in the boot. He also spiked Felicity's drinking water with sleeping pills.

Felicity Drumm: He had bought me a bottle of water and had taken the cap off by the time he'd come out of the store and handed it to me and said, "You know, you're feeding, you need to keep your fluids up." He directed me to the forest and I do recall turning off onto a road that was leading into the forest but my next memory is of waking to the sound of the mobile phone ringing.

(PHONE RINGS)

I wake to finding myself lying, sort of recumbent, back in the passenger seat which had been put back. I answer the phone and it's my father who sounded...slightly anxious and a bit agitated but very clear with me that we were to stop whatever we were doing and we were to return straightaway
to my aunt's home.

Mr Drumm: I told her, "Look, I've got something serious to talk to you about "as far as your money is concerned." I said, "Can you come home
as soon as possible?"

ROSS COULTHART: Her dad's frantic phone call had just saved Felicity's life. Incredibly, he was calling to warn her that Webster had cleaned out
her bank accounts. But Felicity was drugged, semi-conscious and still in danger.

Felicity Drumm: He had our child in the push chair and was moving a distance away from the car. He got really angry with me because, you know, I opened the car door and called out to him and he was very agitated that I was awake and was insisting that I get back in the car
and go back to sleep.

ROSS COULTHART: What do you think Webster was plotting?

Felicity Drumm: My demise. Ah...

ROSS COULTHART: Talk me through it. What was he planning to do?

Felicity Drumm: I think that I was going to meet the same end that his first wife, Claire, had, and that he was going to come up with some rationale as to how the car may have caught fire because a container of petrol was found in the boot.

ROSS COULTHART: Webster's evil plot was unravelling. He drove Felicity home and then he fled.

Felicity Drumm: As soon as I saw all the life insurance policies at my parents' home when Dad showed them to me, I knew instantly then that he had murdered Claire.

ROSS COULTHART: New Zealand police did not have enough evidence to charge Webster who was now planning an escape to Australia. But just before he left, Felicity tracked him down.

Felicity Drumm: I said to him, "How could you even conceived of doing what quite clearly you were?" And he said to me a comment in the vein of,
"Oh, for God's sake, Felicity, you would have died happy." I was absolutely gutted. I couldn't...imagine how anyone could do this to somebody else who had done nothing but ever love and care for them. And, you know, I had a child with this man.

ROSS COULTHART: For 17 years, Malcolm Webster was able to weave a wicked web of lies to conceal the horrible truth of just how he murdered his wife Claire, right here. What finally brought him undone was just one thing - his greed. Now in Scotland, in the seaside town of Oban, Webster was back
to his devious ways.

Simone Banerjee: He was so caring, so attentive, he would open the car door for me, make sure that perhaps dinner was ready when I came home from work. You couldn't have wished for a better person.

ROSS COULTHART: Like Webster's other wives, Simone Banerjee is a nurse
and she too was quickly smitten by his charms.

Simone Banerjee: 'A real charmer' would sum him up very well. But he seemed an honest kind of guy as well.

ROSS COULTHART: Weeks into their love affair, Webster shaved his head, telling Simone he had leukemia. It was a lie. After he told you that he had cancer, did it affect your relationship, your willingness to commit to him?

Simone Banerjee: I'm afraid, me being - my moral compass wouldn't let me run out on somebody that was suffering such an illness.

ROSS COULTHART: Love-struck, Simone fast-tracked their romance, allowing Webster to move in. She was the sole recipient of a wealthy family estate.
Did you sign a will leaving him your estate?

Simone Banerjee: Yes, yes, I did.

ROSS COULTHART: Why did you do that?

Simone Banerjee: Because this was the man I loved and I was going to be with him for the rest of my days.

ROSS COULTHART: Together, they planned a honeymoon voyage on Simone's yacht. Much later, she would learn that Webster had a sinister motive
for going to sea.

Simone Banerjee: I found out this year, when I checked my life jacket, that my cylinder was punctured - the foil on my cylinder was punctured and I hadn't checked my life jacket since I'd sailed with him. Everybody else's life jackets were fine. So I have pretty much no doubt that the boat was the way it was gonna go.

ROSS COULTHART: It sends a shiver up my spine and I'm sure it does yours?

Simone Banerjee: Well, it sent a shiver up mine when I found it too.

ROSS COULTHART: At the time, Simone was blinded by love but a letter changed everything. The letter stated that my life would be considered as being in danger should I continue in my relationship with Mr Webster.

ROSS COULTHART: What was your reaction?

Simone Banerjee: Oh, it's complete nonsense. Can't be the same person.

ROSS COULTHART: The letter was from panicked police. They were secretly watching Malcolm after learning of the attempted murder of his second wife, Felicity. They warned Simone in the nick of time. What happened
when you confronted Webster with what police had told you?

Simone Banerjee: Well, he said, "Who told you?" and I said "The police"
and his that's when his face went white. His facial expression changed.
And it was very, very scary place to be sitting in the kitchen at that point.

ROSS COULTHART: At last, police were closing in. DNA tests on the remains
of Webster's first wife, Claire, showed she had indeed been drugged. The crash — a set-up.

Derek Ogg: The evidence that we heard in court was a man who couldn't stop himself and his behaviours on the evidence we heard in court were repeated and repeated and repeated.

ROSS COULTHART: Derek Ogg is the prosecutor who finally brought Webster to justice. Do you think he thought he'd get away with it?

Derek Ogg: I don't know. I have no idea what goes on in that man's mind. I have - not after 30 years in criminal law, I've never met anyone like him.

ROSS COULTHART: It was the longest trial in Scottish history but a jury took just two hours to convict Webster of the murder of Claire and the attempted murder of Felicity. He was sentenced in July to 30 years in prison. But investigations are far from over. Scottish police now tell us
they're aware of several mystery years where Webster lived here in Australia and that it's likely he had Australian victims. They're now appealing for anyone who knows anything about his time here to come forward.

Derek Ogg: There's no rational basis for thinking that Mr Webster, for some reason, completely changed his personality during his visits to Australia.

ROSS COULTHART: A leopard never changes his spots.

Derek Ogg: Ah, this leopard, I think, was incapable of it.

ROSS COULTHART: Perversely, Webster's most likely victims are nurses — he targeted those who selflessly help others.

Derek Ogg: These were all incredibly competent, capable women, they were all caregivers and they'd all reached a certain age in life, I guess, where they might have wondered, "When am I going to get a life?" And along comes Malcolm Webster - charming, generous, kind. He says, "Put your feet up. Let ME do that." He says, "Let ME make you dinner." He says "Let ME give you a massage." "Take this present." And suddenly, the caregiver is being cared for and people said to me how could it be that all these sensible women all fell for this man? For someone to offer to care for you
is incredibly, in my judgement, an incredibly seductive thing to do and who doesn't want looked after?

More from Sunday Night