‘Womaniser’ May Have Fed Wife to Pigs to Be With Another Woman, Court Hears

“If you ever want to get rid of anybody, feed them to the wild pigs because they don’t leave anything, not even the bones,” the Australian man allegedly told colleagues.
Gavin Butler
Melbourne, AU
john and roxlyn bowie
Roxlyn Bowie disappeared from her property in outback Australia more than 40 years ago. Photo: New South Wales Po

A self-proclaimed womaniser murdered his wife and possibly fed her to pigs at a farm in outback Australia so he could assume “an unfettered relationship” with another woman, a court was told on Tuesday, more than 40 years after her disappearance.

Roxlyn Bowie went missing from the property in Walgett, New South Wales where she lived with her husband, John, and their two children, on the night of June 5, 1982. Her body has never been found. But in 2019, following a series of appeals and investigations, police arrested John—now 72—and charged him with her murder, saying at the time that it had been a “long journey” to get to the point where they felt they had enough evidence to make an arrest.


This week, as the trial got underway, prosecutors told a Supreme Court jury that John, who was then working as an ambulance officer, murdered Roxlyn on the night in question some time between 7PM—when the couple's infant children were put to bed—and about 11PM, when John knocked on the door of his neighbour’s caravan to ask for help. Prosecutors further raised the possibility that John disposed of Roxlyn's body by feeding it to pigs at a local piggery he'd “taken an interest in.”

Prior to leaving the ambulance service in 1988, John allegedly had conversations with a number of colleagues during which he said “pigs don’t leave any evidence,” “they will never find her,” and “if you ever want to get rid of anybody, feed them to the wild pigs because they don’t leave anything, not even the bones.” On one occasion he told the meal room of a Sydney ambulance station that “the police are giving me a hard time about my wife, but the pigs do a good job and don’t leave anything behind,” prosecutors claimed

On another occasion, he allegedly told a woman—with whom he had a subsequent relationship—that police had “checked out the roo pits and an old mine shaft” for Roslyn’s body, but if he was going to do something “he would’ve fed her to the pigs, there would’ve been nothing left to find.” Another woman is expected to testify that after telling John she was having problems with her then husband and wished someone would kill him, he allegedly responded that he “had killed before, and it was not a nice feeling.”


Defence barrister Winston Terracini argued, however, that “Throwaway lines in relation to fairly inane conversations [are] not confessions.” 

“You know, in your own life, that some people say things offhandedly but don’t necessarily mean they want to do certain things,” Terracini told the jury this week.

Crown prosecutor Alex Morris alleged that John carried out the crime so that he could more seriously commit to another woman, Gail Clarke, with whom he was having an affair. Morris noted that John had previously admitted to having a number of affairs with different women while living in Walgett, and considered himself to be a womaniser. 

He told the court John forced Roxlyn to write two letters before allegedly killing her—one that was found in the Walgett home after she disappeared and another that was mailed to her parents two days later. In the letter to her parents, she allegedly wrote that she was leaving for South Australia or Western Australia “to start a new life,” and “please don’t be hard on John because it wasn’t his fault that I left.”

John Bowie has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial is expected to last six weeks.

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