Victoria Cafasso: Unsolved Murder (1995)


On the 11th of October 1995, British-Italian tourist Victoria Cafasso (20) was found stabbed to death in broad daylight on a beach in Tasmania, Australia. Only a few days earlier Victoria had traveled to Tasmania to visit her cousin (who she had only met twice previously.) On the 6th of October, Victoria has picked up by her cousin (Simon De Salis) along with a visiting friend of his (Peter Holder). On the way to De Salis residence (at “Larby’s Cottage” Charles Street) they had stopped off at the lookout point at the beach and met three other local residents (Hilda Jackson, Mark Jackson, and Mario Agius.) This lookout point would give a full view of the beach where she would later be murdered.)


Over the following few days Victoria went on two different walks and also attended a small social gathering with her cousin (a birthday party for a woman named Mandy-Lou Larby), but otherwise remained at his home.


At 9 am on the 11th of October, Victoria went to the beach and was possibly seen sunbathing at around 10 am. It was just hours later at around 13:45 pm that her body was found partially in the water. Victoria was partially undressed, possibly due to a struggle, and her bikini bottoms, towel, and t-shirt were never found. The rest of her items were 50 metres up the beach, including $509 in Australian currency.


At a coroner's inquest in 2005, it was revealed that Victoria has been brutally and violently attacked by both a blunt object and a knife. She had initially tried to defend herself from the bunt object (which broke three of her teeth) but she then suffered 17 stab wounds, one of which was to her right atrium. Her face and head had also been stabbed, lacerated, and bludgeoned resulting in horrific and extensive wounds.


A major challenge in investigating this case in 2021 is that the police response at the time was poor. The scene of the crime had not been sealed off promptly, photo/ video evidence wasn't taken, her body was moved, and forensic investigators didn't attend. Police at the time estimated that approximately 50 people had attended that beach between 08:30 am and the time she was found. This also meant that if any footprints were photographed / impression was made, they may not be able to distinguish between tourists, the first responders, and the killer. No witnesses came forward to say they saw the attack.


Theories


Due to a lack of physical evidence and information regarding the investigation, it's hard to come up with any sure-fire theories.


It's possible that Victoria had been sunbathing and was attacked by surprise with the blunt object, breaking three of her teeth. She could have then jumped up and defended herself against the object, and ran towards the shoreline to escape the attack. The killer then chased her and quickly stabbed her 17 times, before stealing her bikini bottoms and other items and running away. However, in the coroner's inquest, it was suggested that the blow to her head would likely have knocked her out, so it's possible that she was unconscious at the time of the stabbing.