Heroic women who saved teenagers from Samuel Leonard Boyd
Helen Hartup and two other women were sound asleep at the Sydney boarding school where they worked as supervisors when a man holding a bloody knife jolted them awake.
“I already killed tonight,” warned Samuel Leonard Boyd, ordering him, Patricia Volcic and Olive Short to strip.
After the teenage girls in the nearby dorm, Boyd asked the women if there were any 16-18 year olds among them so he could “have sex with them.”
All three were ‘absolute heroes’ to stop him, says Ms Hartup’s niece Margaret Lees.
“He knew the route, he knew where the girls were and how to get there.
“There was no way they would let him…and I’m not sure it’s that well known considering everything that happened that night.”
Helen Hartup and two other women bravely took a stand against Samuel Leonard Boyd when he was killed in 1983. (Pictured: Helen at his wedding in 1950)
It’s been almost 40 years since her 57-year-old aunt was murdered, but Margaret can still smell her Innoxa powder aroma every time she walks past a department store counter.
“I have to do a double take,” she said. “I kind of hang around and put a little bit on my hand.”
Nine-year-old Helen was ‘the favorite aunt’ and Margaret fondly remembers visiting her in Morpeth, in the NSW Hunter Valley.
“She wore beautiful clothes. I remember touching her sleeves, they were always very soft, and if I approached her, she would put her arms around me.
“She was always very warm and so kind. She was always laughing and she made the most amazing sponge cake.
“She didn’t deserve what she got.”
Helen’s younger sister Patty got her a job at Glenfield Park Special School in Sydney’s south-west, where she was a registered nurse.
Some of the children were placed there by the court, others were abused by family members and many were taken into care by the state.
Boyd immigrated to Australia from Scotland as a child and soon became known to the police. His mother also worked at Glenfield School in the 1970s where Boyd visited and met Helen frequently.
His first victim in 1982 was Rhonda Celea. Detectives found the mother-of-two at her home in Busby, naked in the hallway, a child’s dress stained with blood on her face and a gaping laceration in her throat.
Seven months later he was drinking with Gregory Wiles at the Arch Bar Hotel in Liverpool before heading to Scaramouche Disco in the early hours of April 22, 1983.
The couple shared a joint in Glenfield and Boyd says his next memory is questioning himself, covered in blood.
The body of Mr Wiles was later found by the side of a road with serious head injuries caused by Boyd’s claw hammer which had fallen into the nearby school.
That evening, Margaret, heavily pregnant with her second child, was in the kitchen bathing her baby when the radio caught her attention.
“I will never forget it, the news of something terrible happening at Glenfield Park school made my ears prick up. No further details available at this stage.
She immediately called her mother and asked her what was going on.
“She said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know’ but someone was trying to call her so we hung up.”
A few hours later, Margaret called back and asked if Helen was one of the victims.
“She stopped for a bit and said ‘yes’. All I remember is dropping the phone.
Margaret would later feel shocked when the detective leading the prosecution against Boyd told her, “I have never seen so much blood in all my life and the area he was covering.”
As the attack unfolded, Olive Short woke up with a scream and a man’s voice.
She glanced outside her room and saw Helen, whom Boyd had called by her first name, and Mrs. Volcic cowering.
Knowing the teenage girls were in danger, she made sure the sturdy door to their dorms was locked and hid the keys.
Boyd had each of the women strip naked and herded them onto a bed where he terrorized and brutalized them for hours.
Samuel Leonard Boyd (pictured) infiltrated a Sydney boarding school where the three women worked as supervisors. He forced them to strip and tortured them after trying to gain access to a dormitory with teenage girls
At one point Mrs Short ran for the alarm down the hall, but Boyd arrived first, punched and stabbed her in the neck and threw her back onto the bed.
After being stabbed “numerous times”, she pretended to be dead and Boyd finally turned off the lights and left.
Day staff eventually found her and she was taken to hospital. His eyewitness testimony would play a vital role in the jury’s conviction.
Margaret read in the coroner’s report that one of the reasons Ms Short survived was because she was the last attacked and the knife was already covered in so much blood it coagulated the wound in her neck .
Boyd was found that morning in a Lansvale trailer park, disoriented, disheveled and covered in blood.
He maintained that his last memory was buying a pack of cigarette papers at a Casula petrol station with Mr Wiles.
The next day, Margaret went into labor.
Her brother Malcolm was taken to the morgue to identify Helen behind a glass screen.
“It was absolutely etched in his memory and from that moment he wasn’t the same person.”
Margaret’s mother was advised not to attend the committal hearings, where photographic evidence would be admitted. But she had been in court every day since the first trial, which was aborted and very distressing for everyone.
“Knowing was kind of better than the stories swirling around in your head,” Margaret says.
Since his conviction, Boyd has twice tried to obtain a period without parole. The last time, in 2017, Margaret had then moved from Darwin to Cairns and her contact had not been updated in the register.
Although no member of Helen’s family is in court, she was relieved by both Judge Ken Carruthers in 1994 and Judge Peter Johnson in 2017, who understood the seriousness of what Boyd had done. refusing to determine his sentence.
“It was the only chance I had to stand in court in front of this guy and tell him exactly what I thought of him and exactly what he did to our family,” she says.
“During the time he’s been in prison and had time to think, I wonder if he has any idea how serious the consequences were not just that night, but for the next 40 years.
“He took from us the most compassionate, easy-going, helpful and beautiful person God has ever put on this planet.”
Above all, Margaret wants the children and grandchildren of the three women to know what they have sacrificed, to understand their bravery.
“I don’t think their children would know who their mother was, what they did. These three women gave their lives for these children.