On the night Penny Hill was brutally attacked and left for dead, a neighbour heard a woman’s desperate screams. Leeola Davis, who lived near the Black Stump Motel, where Penny was staying, claims she heard a woman pleading, “Help me. Please help me”, in the early hours of July 8, 1991.
The murder of 20-year-old Penny in the NSW country town of Coolah almost 30 years ago is one of Australia’s most baffling unsolved crimes.
Penny had arrived in town to start a job as a nanny for former drummer with rock band, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Colin Baigent and his wife Barbara Baigent.
And three days later she was found bashed on the side of the road in Coolah.
New podcast, The Rock Star & The Nanny is exploring the cold case. In the most recent episode of the podcast, journalist Mary-Ann says Leeola originally thought the woman’s screams must have been a dream. However, when Leeola heard of the attack on Penny, she realised the cries were likely not a dream at all.
Detective Sergeant Jason Darcy from the Western Region Unsolved Homicide Squad believes what Leeola heard may, in fact, have been a domestic dispute between professional golfer Ross Kitto and his then girlfriend, Madeleine Feehan, who were also staying at the motel that night.
There had been a golf tournament in Coolah that weekend.
“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,” Darcy says. “(He) had to go and get treatment (at hospital). His movements through the night and then his behaviour afterwards, obviously, were unusual.”
Police travelled to New Zealand to interview Ross and also spoke to a number of other golfers in town that weekend. There is no evidence to suggest Ross was involved in Penny’s murder.