Killer Ernest Knibbs once proposed marriage to Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll

A top cop has revealed her undercover work was so convincing that a cold-blooded killer once proposed to her and even gave her an engagement ring.  

Katarina Carroll was an undercover agent before becoming Queensland’s first female police commissioner.

She revealed on Friday how she was once sent to profile suspected murderer Ernest Arthur Knibb. 

Her work was so convincing that Knibb fell head-over-heels for her and even proposed marriage, according to News Corp’s Lady Justice podcast. 

Queensland’s Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll (pictured) revealed killer Ernest Knibb once fell in love with her and proposed marriage while she was working undercover 

But little did Knibb know the woman he was in love with was investigating whether he was guilty of the murder and sexual assault of Sydney screen writer Miranda Downes.

Ms Downes’ naked body was found on a Cairns beach in 1985.

Police believe she was attacked and raped after being struck down by a vehicle driving on the sand. 

Ms Carroll adopted a new name and developed what she called a ‘plausible backstory’ to get close to Knibb.

Ms Carroll was sent to profile Knibbs who was suspected of murdering Sydney Screenwriter Miranda Downes (pictured)

Ms Carroll was sent to profile Knibbs who was suspected of murdering Sydney Screenwriter Miranda Downes (pictured) 

They spent time at the pub together, played darts and hung out in snooker halls, with the pair becoming so acquainted that Knibb asked her to marry him. 

‘He took a liking to me and decided to pop the question one day. And sure enough, I ended up with this real, big, opal ring,’ Ms Carroll told the podcast. 

‘It was the nature of the person to be, I suppose, quite overt in what he wanted and what his feelings were. So I didn’t have to do anything too much to be well liked by (him), believe me.’ 

The truth was only revealed when Ms Carroll arrived in court to give evidence against a shell-shocked Knibb.

He was convicted and received a 25-year life sentence but was released in 2013. 

During her early years as a cop, Ms Carroll worked undercover in illegal prostitution, illegal gaming and massage parlours. 

Ms Carroll (pictured) worked undercover in illegal prostitution, illegal gaming and massage parlours before being named Queensland's first female Police Commissioner

Ms Carroll (pictured) worked undercover in illegal prostitution, illegal gaming and massage parlours before being named Queensland’s first female Police Commissioner 

She also posed as a street walker in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane’s red light district. 

‘So they were my first three years in extraordinarily interesting (circumstances), you know what I saw as a 23-year-old till about 27 most people would never see in their lifetime,’ she said. 

Ms Carroll later worked as a drug squad detective and once served as the Commissioner of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

Ms Carroll (pictured, right) also served as Queensland's Fire and Rescue Service Commissioner

Ms Carroll (pictured, right) also served as Queensland’s Fire and Rescue Service Commissioner

Despite encountering tragedies in her policing and fire service career, Ms Carroll says she is still haunted by the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children. 

She said she will never forget the day she received the call that Ms Clarke, 31, her children – Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three, – died in a horrific domestic violence murder. 

They were killed when estranged husband Rowan Baxter doused their family in car in petrol and lit it on fire in suburban south Brisbane on February 19, 2020. 

Despite encountering tragedies in her policing and fire service career, Ms Carroll says she is still haunted by the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children (pictured)

Despite encountering tragedies in her policing and fire service career, Ms Carroll says she is still haunted by the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children (pictured)

Baxter did not die in the initial fire but jumped out of the burning car – with burns to 80 percent of his body – and stabbed himself with a knife. 

‘When you think about the worst crimes you could ever witness in history, that is probably one of the worst … but it was by a father and by a husband of three young children,’ she said. 

In March, Ms Carroll said the state’s domestic violence cases were escalating, making up 40 per cent of their workload. 

She said she wasn’t sure whether domestic violence was more prevalent or people were more comfortable reporting it, but said cases were soaring in Queensland. 

‘I think the system vastly protects the majority of victims,’ she told reporters.

‘However, as always you have a minority that is so difficult to deal with. It’s beyond belief as to what perpetrators get up to in terms of wreaking havoc in the community.

‘I can’t understand how someone can do that.’

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