Leeola Davis woke to hear what she thought were the sounds of a woman screaming, “Help me. Please help me”, in the early hours of July 8, 1991. She checked on her children and, assuming she must have been dreaming, went back to bed.
That same night, young nanny Penny Hill was brutally bashed and left for dead. Davis lived near the Black Stump Motel, in Coolah, NSW, where Hill was staying. When David heard of the attack on Hill she realised what she heard was no dream.
In the compelling podcast, The Rock Star & The Nanny, journalist Mary-Ann Harris reports Davis told a 2012 inquest into Hill’s death she couldn’t get the woman’s screams out of her head. Her voice was very pleading, Davis told the inquest.
But police believe what Davis may have actually heard that night was a violent domestic dispute between professional golfer and the girlfriend, Madeleine Feehan, who were also staying at the Black Stump Motel. Feehan alleged at the second inquest that she had cried out when Kitto attacked her in her motel room.
“Ross had a domestic dispute with his girlfriend on that night, which resulted in him getting his thumb bitten and losing his nail on his thumb,” Detective Sergeant Jason Darcy from the Western Region Unsolved Homicide Squad Darcy says in the podcast. “(He) had to go and get treatment (at hospital). His movements through the night and then his behaviour afterwards, obviously, were unusual.”
There is no evidence to suggest Kitto was involved in Hill’s murder.
Hill had left her home in country Narrabri to start work as a nanny for former rock drummer, Col Baigent and his wife Barbara. But three days after her arrival in Coolah she was found beaten by the side of the road.
School teacher Susan Brown was the one who found Hill slumped against the gate of a rural property.
“It was obvious that she had been hurt around the head,” Brown recalls. “There was blood on her face and her features were swollen. That's all that really needs to be said.”
Two weeks later Hill died of her injuries and police have never been able to find her killer.