Hobart murder house’s fast sale

THE most notorious murder house in modern Hobart history has been snapped up for a figure that "well exceeded" the asking price of $575,000 - three days after it was listed for sale.

In September 1983, CSIRO oceanographer and self-described "mad scientist" Rory Jack Thompson strangled and dismembered his wife Maureen with a hacksaw and a meat cleaver, flushing dozens of her body parts down the toilet of her West Hobart rental.

A finger was found a few days later in Hobart's sewer system, leading police to pull apart the plumbing at 99 Hill St and finding 83 body parts jammed in its pipes.

On Saturday, Charlotte Peterswald real estate agent Debbie Heron - who has sold the house twice before including to former Premier David Bartlett - welcomed 37 groups of interested buyers to an open home.

Buyers were lined up down the street to view the renovated and replumbed two-bedroom 1910 townhouse.


99 Hill Street, West Hobart. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN
99 Hill Street, West Hobart. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN


Ms Heron, who received "seven competitive offers" over the weekend, said there was a clause in the contract to disclose the house's gruesome history to prospective buyers.

"Most of them just responded by saying 'yes we know', because if you Google 99 Hill St, it will come up with some of the history," she said.

"People just seem to not have any concerns about it."

The house last sold for $375,000 in 2015, $103,000 in 2010 and $67,000 in 1991. Ms Heron said the house "has its own identity now" and the current owner "absolutely loves it" but had to return to NSW.

Californian Maureen Thompson, 37, emigrated to Australia in the 1970s with her "genius" Seattle-born husband.


Murder victim Maureen Thompson. Picture: DAVID HAMMOND
Murder victim Maureen Thompson. Picture: DAVID HAMMOND


They later moved to Hobart after the oceanographer nabbed a senior appointment with Australia's science agency. The couple had two children - Rafi and Melody.

But in 1983, Maureen took her children to a Catholic crisis centre, accusing Rory of violence and seeking help from the courts.

Defended in court by barrister Pierre Slicer, Thompson was found not guilty of murder by reasons of insanity in 1984 and was incarcerated in hospital at Risdon Prison.

Thompson, who changed his name to Jack Newman, escaped Risdon in 1999 and made it on board a Melbourne-bound Ansett flight before he was hauled back to jail.

He suicided in his cell the same year, leaving between $300,000 and $1.5 million to the World Wildlife Fund but not a cent to his children.

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