Woman Arrested for Organising $20k Hit on Her Parents Via Dark Web

It’s thought that the 26-year-old’s planned assassination was motivated by financial gain. Police said her parents were “very shocked.”
Gavin Butler
Melbourne, AU
australia, crime, dark web woman murder

A 26-year-old who allegedly paid someone on the darknet to kill her parents has been charged with attempted murder.

It’s understood that the woman, from Canberra in Australia’s Capital Territory, was motivated by financial gain when she agreed to pay $20,000 for the targeted killing of her mother and father in September—and had already paid $6,000 towards that sum when police arrested her this week.


Authorities launched their investigation in October, following a tip-off from an international journalist who claimed to have found evidence of a payment being made for the double-murder. On Monday, officers executed a search warrant at her house, arresting and charging her with two counts each of attempted murder and incite murder, as well as one count of burglary and one count of theft for allegedly stealing $15,000 from her parents in September.

ACT Policing Acting Sergeant Beth McMullen described the case as “a very unusual matter.”

"We were able to obtain information to suggest that a payment was paid over the dark web," she told reporters on Tuesday. "Police believe the actual site itself is fraudulent, however we needed to be very conscious of the frame of mind of the person who made the payment and what that person might be looking at doing in the future.”

“The victims were very shocked, and understandably concerned,” she added. “We took steps to ensure their safety.”

The journalist who flagged the woman’s activity with police was doing an enquiry into darknet activities when he noticed the payment, along with details provided to the would-be killer that outlined how they might be able to target the victims. After receiving the tip-off, Australian authorities tracked the woman’s online activity, forensically examined her bank records and monitored her online activity.

Some two months later they moved in, raiding her house, arresting her and seizing computer equipment for their ongoing investigation. Acting Sergeant McMullen said that “police will [now] continue to look into the other side of the equation: [that] being the people who are running the site.”


Authorities believe the site is no longer active.

It is the first time someone has been charged for entering into a darknet murder contract in the ACT, and possibly Australia. But the case is not entirely without precedent.

In September 2020, a 36-year-old woman in Nevada, U.S.A., was indicted over a murder-for-hire plot that saw her paying 12 bitcoin—valued at approximately $5,000 USD at the time—to a darkweb hitman website to have her ex-husband assassinated. In that case, investigators arrested the woman after a source provided them with copies of messages between her and the administrator of the website.

That website, like the one used by the Australian woman, also turned out to be fraudulent.

In fact according to experts and law enforcers who have studied darknet murder-for-hire services, these sites are almost always scams: a lucrative way for fraudsters to rort people out of tens of thousands of dollars without having to worry about whether their victims might go to the police.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to defraud people because you give them just enough sense of danger,” Emily Wilson, the head of research at security firm Terbium Labs, explained to the New York Times. “What are you going to do if they don’t go through with it?”

NYT further noted that while assassinations have been successfully commissioned on the darknet at large, no actual murders have ever been arranged via one of the dedicated hit-man-for-hire sites.

Most darknet marketplaces ban murder-for-hire, contract killings and assassination services from their platforms.

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