From the creator of The Teacher’s Pet, the most successful podcast investigation in Australian history, comes a new one-hour true crime documentary Shandee’s Story: The Search for Justice, hosted by The Australian’s award-winning investigative journalist Hedley Thomas.
Based on The Australian’s true crime podcast series Shandee’s Story, Shandee’s Story: The Search for Justice will premiere Tuesday 7 June at 8pm AEST on Sky News Australia.
In the early hours of 9 February 2013, 23-year-old Shandee Blackburn was horrifically stabbed more than 20 times on her way home from work in the town of Mackay, Queensland by a mystery figure captured briefly on security cameras. The brutal attack saw her left for dead just metres from her family home.
Shandee’s killer is still at large. The prime suspect, her former boyfriend John Peros, a champion amateur boxer with jealousy and trust issues, was charged with Shandee’s murder in 2014. Peros stood trial for murder in 2017 but was acquitted by a Supreme Court jury. In 2019 a coronial inquest into Shandee’s death heard evidence not presented at Peros’ murder trial. In 2020, the coroner found that Shandee died in an incident of violence with Peros using a bladed instrument. Peros has maintained his innocence.
Extraordinary revelations in the podcast, including findings by a leading scientist of a widespread forensic failure in Shandee’s case, stunned senior police and led to the re-opening of the coroner’s investigation.
Shandee’s Story: The Search for Justice shares new information and fresh perspectives from experts, family and friends, as concerns mount that there have been systemic failures over the past decade in the Queensland government’s DNA laboratory, potentially affecting hundreds of cases.
The documentary will include interviews with Vicki and Shannah Blackburn (Shandee’s mother and sister), Greven Breadsell (former boxing coach of John Peros, Shandee’s ex-boyfriend), Shannon Fentiman MP (Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Women, and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence), Steven Phillips (Shandee’s friend, colleague and ex-roommate), Dr Kirsty Wright (Forensic Biologist) and Kristy Bell (Criminal lawyer who represented the Blackburn family at the 2019 inquest) and many more.
National Chief Correspondent at The Australian, Hedley Thomas said:
“After a lot of investigative work by myself and several experts in crime, Shandee’s remarkable story is coming back into the spotlight. Shandee’s family, other victims of crime and the community deserve answers. Shandee’s killer needs to be found and put behind bars.
“In the course of this investigation we have uncovered very serious problems surrounding Shandee’s case. Queenslanders need to have confidence that the State’s DNA laboratory is not delivering second-rate justice. Crucial DNA results from samples taken at crime scenes for murders, rapes and other very serious crimes must be completely reliable to ensure victims are not disregarded while the guilty go unpunished and free to re-offend.”
Hedley Thomas specialises in investigative crime reporting. Hedley has won seven Walkley awards including two Gold Walkley Awards: the first in 2007 for his investigations into the fiasco surrounding the Australian Federal Police investigations of Dr Mohamed Haneef, and the second in 2018 for his podcast, The Teacher’s Pet.
The Teacher’s Pet podcast made headlines around the world, with more than 60 million downloads worldwide, and reached the top of the podcast charts in Australia, the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.
This month, Hedley Thomas returned to the airwaves with a new podcast for The Australian, The Teacher’s Trial, which has already shot to No. 1 in the Apple podcast charts. The weekly podcast focuses on the Supreme Court trial of Chris Dawson for the alleged murder of his wife, Sydney mother Lynette Dawson.