‘I SPENT 39 YEARS PROVING I WAS INNOCENT'
Woman's Day Australia|November 30, 2020
Convicted of a horrific crime he didn’t commit, John was determined to clear his name
Brigid Auchettl

The peaceful Perth community was shattered in the late ’50s and early ’60s when Eric Edgar Cooke committed a string of murders. Known as the “Night Caller”, Cooke was an opportunistic killer who used different methods to commit his crimes, including shooting, stabbing and strangling, as well as hit-and-run attacks.

But it wasn’t just the people he murdered who became his victims. Nineteen-year-old John Button was wrongfully convicted of one of Cooke’s crimes in 1963. Sentenced to 10 years in jail, John struggled to move on with his life after his release – until he met investigative journalist Estelle Blackburn, who vowed to help him clear his name...

After John was wrongfully convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Rosemary Anderson in 1963, he never imagined that he’d spend the rest of his life trying to prove he was an innocent man. So when journalist Estelle called offering him help to share his story, he was overwhelmed with hope.

“I wouldn’t have had a life without Estelle,” says John, 76, from his home in Orange.

“There’s no one else who could have done what she did for me... it means the world.”

Together, they spent hours chatting about John’s experiences to write a book that would eventually reopen his case and grant him a new appeal.

“Finally someone with a bit of influence, an investigative journalist, was able to help me,” he says. “It was an amazing partnership.”

John’s nightmare began in 1963, on his 19th birthday, when his girlfriend Rosemary, 17, was killed in a brutal hit-and-run. After an argument over fish and chips, Rosemary had decided to walk home, refusing his apologies and offers for a ride.

“I kept saying, ‘I’m so sorry, please forgive me.’ She said ‘no’ each time. I watched her walk under the subway tunnel and she disappeared from view,” he says.

BEATEN CONFESSION

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM WOMAN'S DAY AUSTRALIAView All

THE HOTEL SCANDAL DESTROYING THE BECKHAMS

The former sporting great has been accused of being unfaithful once more

2 mins read
Woman's Day Australia
January 11, 2021

‘I'm the luckiest woman alive'

At 91, Pam has rebuilt her beloved family home after it was destroyed in the fires

3 mins read
Woman's Day Australia
January 11, 2021

Susie Elelman ‘LOSING MY HEARING WAS TERRIFYING'

The beloved TV presenter talks about her frightening diagnosis and how she’s bouncing back after a trying year

3 mins read
Woman's Day Australia
January 11, 2021

MY BEST BODY EVER AT 55!

Sonia Kruger has fans begging for her secret to looking so good

1 min read
Woman's Day Australia
January 11, 2021

HAMISH & ANDY'S BROMANCE OVER!

The iconic comedy duo are going their separate ways

2 mins read
Woman's Day Australia
January 11, 2021

ELLEN & PORTIA SHOCK SPLIT

Lockdown takes another victim as the talk show host goes solo

2 mins read
Woman's Day Australia
January 11, 2021

CRISIS TALKS AGAIN!

The Sussexes are asking for an extension on their infamous deal

3 mins read
Woman's Day Australia
January 11, 2021

Asthma alert

Summer, and the hot weeks following the official end of the season, can be a tricky time for asthma sufferers

2 mins read
Woman's Day Australia
January 11, 2021

Katie's Surprise Winter Wedding!

The actress is ready to marry her toyboy lover at her country home

2 mins read
Woman's Day Australia
January 11, 2021

Delta's Fairytale Wedding!

After saying ‘I do’, the singer-turned-producer is working on a special production of her big day

3 mins read
Woman's Day Australia
January 11, 2021
RELATED STORIES

OF LOVE and LONGING

Portraits by Alex Venezia

5 mins read
International Artist
December - January 2021

A REVOLUTIONARY CHAIR

Revolving Windsor chair with writing arm. 1775-76 Mahogany, poplar, and other woods 431⁄2 × 30 × 331⁄2 American Philosophical Society. Gift of John Kintzing Kane, 20 April 1838.

3 mins read
Woodcraft Magazine
February - March 2021

TE JONES

BAT RESEARCHER

5 mins read
Muse Science Magazine for Kids
January 2021

Life in the clear

THE SECRET TO BEING (ALMOST) INVISIBLE

6 mins read
Muse Science Magazine for Kids
January 2021

‘FRIEND' WITH BENEFITS: COURTENEY COX TO WED

LOVEBIRDS Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid are officially ready to become more than just “Friends” — they’re planning a special wedding in Ireland, sources spilled.

1 min read
National Enquirer
January 25, 2021

THE REAL REASON JOHN LENNON DIED

Chilling truth 40 years after tragic murder

3 mins read
Globe
January 04, 2021

Timing is everything

HALEY KATHLEEN COX & JOHN WILLIAM RATLIFF FEBRUARY 1, 2020 • DALLAS

4 mins read
Mississippi Magazine
January - February 2021

ANGELINA JOLIE CAUGHT IN DEPP CHEATING SCANDAL

Shocking details to be exposed in Johnny’s court fight with Amber

2 mins read
Globe
January 04, 2021

LT1 LT2 LT3 - LE MANS BACK-UP

Jaguar built three very special racing XK120 bodies to have as a back-up if the C-Type was not ready to debut at Le Mans in 1951. This is the story of those cars.

6 mins read
Jaguar Magazine
Issue 205

THUNDER & LIGHTNING

Guitar World celebrates half a century of Thin Lizzy, looking back through the eyes of two key longtime band members: guitarist Scott Gorham and drummer Brian Downey

10+ mins read
Guitar World
February 2021