If you're a regular listener of Melbourne radio station KIIS 101.1, you might have heard a bit of controversy brewing. Last week, host Lauren Phillips had an argument with her partner, jet tycoon Paul O'Brien, and stormed out of the house, putting on a murder podcast to clear her head. The podcast she chose was about the murder of 15-year-old dancer Rachel Barber, who was strangled with a telephone cord in 1999.
Barber was a talented student at the Dance Factory, who had a bright future ahead of her. Her success and popularity enraged the family's babysitter, Caroline Reed Robertson, who became obsessed with her. On February 28, 1999, Robertson invited Barber to her apartment for a psychological study. The teen agreed, but Robertson told her not to tell anyone about the study or risk damaging its results. The next day, Robertson drugged the teen with what she called 'drowsy powder' and strangled her to death with a telephone cord. She then buried the body on her father's property.
At the time, Robertson was 19 years old. She was never convicted of the murder, but her obsession with Barber was well documented in a journal that she kept during her trial. It included a step-by-step to-do list of how she would lure, kill and dispose of the body. The judge found that Robertson was so "self-absorbed" in her obsession with the dancer that she didn't think about her victim's life or humanity.