‘Evil’ child killer barred again from seeking parole

Laine Clark |

Child killer Barrie John Watts will not be eligible to apply for parole until 2034.
Child killer Barrie John Watts will not be eligible to apply for parole until 2034.

A notorious schoolgirl killer has been prevented from applying for parole for another 10 years.

Barrie John Watts received a life sentence after the 1987 rape and murder of 12-year-old Sian Kingi on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

His partner – mother-of-six Valmae Beck – helped Watts abduct the Noosa schoolgirl, whose body was discovered in bushland days later.

Queensland’s Parole Board used laws passed in 2021 to block Watts applying for parole until February 2034.

Under the legislation dubbed “Sian’s Law”, child murderers and serial killers serving life sentences can be denied parole for up to 10 years at a time.

There is no limit to the number of times the parole board can make that declaration.

Queensland’s Parole Board president Michael Byrne said among the reasons why Watts had been blocked from seeking release was the “nature, seriousness and circumstances” of his offence.

Another was the risk Watts might pose to the public if he received parole.

Watts became eligible for parole in 2000 and applied for release 20 years later but was denied following a public appeal.

Liberal National Party MP Dan Purdie – a former police officer – triggered debate for the new laws, tabling a petition with 72,000 signatures in June 2021 to deny Watts parole.

Watts applied again in October 2022, prompting the board’s decision to block him from seeking parole for another 10 years.

Watts will be 80 years old in February 2034.

The 1987 murder caused outrage.

Beck had helped lure the schoolgirl, telling her she was looking for a missing poodle as Watts snuck up behind and grabbed her.

The sentencing judge at Watts’ 1990 trial described him as “a thoroughly evil man devoid of any sense of morality” and recommended he never be released from jail.

Beck received a life sentence at a separate trial. She died in prison in 2008.