The heartbroken mother of Samantha Knight has spoken out on her daughter’s death in her first television interview in over three decades.
Tess Knight revealed how she unknowingly came face-to-face with her daughter’s killer in an emotional interview with A Current Affair on Tuesday.
Nine-year-old Samantha was molested, drugged and killed after she was abducted by paedophile Michael Guider from her Bondi home on August 19, 1986.
The 68-year-old child molester was charged with her murder in 2001, but ultimately pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Her body has never been found.
Three decades later: Tess Knight revealed how she unwittingly came face-to-face with her daughter’s killer in an emotional interview with A Current Affair on Tuesday
Nine-year-old Samantha was molested, drugged and killed after she was abducted by paedophile Michael Guider from her Bondi home on August 19, 1986
Ms Knight recalled the moment Guider approached her at a public place, at a time when Samantha’s killer was still unknown.
‘One of my fears in the time when we didn’t know what had happened to Samantha, when I was working in quite a public place, was that whoever had taken her would come and watch me, come and talk to me and I wouldn’t know,’ Ms Knight said.
‘He approached me in this public place, introduced himself, asked if I remembered him, I said no.
‘He referred to a common friend, said he knew this person and we had met at her place. He was pleasant, reasonably charming, a little bit overly-persistent.’
But at the time, Ms Knight said she had no reason to believe Guider was a suspect because she was often being approached by people who recognised her on the street.
In hindsight, she believes Guider’s behaviour was ‘approaching stalking’.
‘He came and spoke to me knowing what he knew. The one thing I wanted to know, and he didn’t say anything.’
Ms Knight’s interview comes just as Guider is due to be released after serving a 17-year sentence
The 68-year-old child molester was charged with Knight’s murder in 2001, but ultimately pleaded guilty to manslaughter
After Guider’s conviction in 2002, Ms Knight said she heard from the paedophile once more in a letter, apologising for what he had done.
‘I believe he might have written a letter to me at one point that the police showed me briefly, which apologised. I didn’t keep it, I didn’t want to keep it,’ she said.
‘That’s some admission of guilt.
‘Now he’s changed his story and claims he had no involvement in Samantha’s death.’
Ms Knight’s interview comes just as Guider is set to be released after serving a 17-year sentence.
He was due for release on June 6 but the New South Wales Attorney-General is working to keep him behind bars.
‘He’s pleaded guilty. There’s evidence that demonstrates his involvement in Samantha’s death. He takes so little responsibility that he now denies it, that’s hugely alarming,’ she added.
Ms Knight said her main concern now is to protect other children from become future victims of Guider
This is the block of flats in Imperial Avenue, Bondi, where Sam Knight lived with her mother Tess in 1986 as it is today. Michael Guider had acted as a babysitter for Sam and many other pre-pubescent girls whose mothers he befriended. He assaulted the girls after drugging them
Guider was serving a 16-year sentence imposed in 1996 for 60 offences against 11 children when police realised he was responsible for kidnapping Samantha
‘Do I believe he’s reformed? I don’t know him, so I don’t know. But I’m not satisfied. His past behaviour combined with his current behaviour to me indicates he’s not reformed.’
Ms Knight said her main concern now is to protect other children from becoming future victims of Guider.
‘My grief is my own now. This is about the future, it’s about the safety of others and the future.’
Samantha was one of perhaps scores of children aged two to 16 Guider molested over many years.
He was known to drug pre-pubescent boys and girls before molesting them.
Many of his victims, including Samantha, were the daughters of mothers he had befriended and he sexually assaulted them during babysitting sessions.
Guider played a ‘game’ called statues with some victims in which he ordered them to stand still while he exposed himself and touched their genitals; he took thousands of images of the children he violated while they were drugged.
Sam Knight’s parents Tess Knight and Peter O’Meagher outside the NSW Supreme Court after Michael Guider was sentenced for the August 1986 manslaughter of their daughter in August 2002. ‘Guider is the only person who knows where Sam is,’ Ms Knight told reporters
The long-haired gardener claimed some of the mothers knew what he was doing and told a psychologist at least one of them – not Sam’s mother – did not mind.
‘She was bad,’ he Guider said of the mother. ‘I was screwing her two kids and she asked me to do it to her after I’d been doing it to them.’
Guider was serving a 16-year sentence imposed in 1996 for 60 offences against 11 children when police realised he was responsible for kidnapping Samantha.
He later claimed he had drugged Samantha with the sleeping pill Normison and she died of an overdose on his lounge.
In 2003, he told police had buried Samantha in a garden at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron where he was working in 1986.
Samantha’s body has never been found but Michael’s brother Tim Guider has revealed he believes she is under or near a headstone bearing another Knight’s name in a corner of the old Gore Hill Cemetery.
Mr Guider told Daily Mail Australia his brother Michael had admitted this year to visiting the graveyard with another of his victims years after Samantha’s 1986 disappearance.
He believes Michael moved Samantha’s body there and arranged parts of a broken memorial to a long-dead woman named Sarah Knight to mark or point to her grave.
Mr Guider found the broken headstone for a Sarah Maria Knight, who died aged 81 in 1916, in the north-western coroner of the cemetery in September 2016.
The headstone’s plinth and a large cross had been moved to the unmarked grave behind it.