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In December 2005 William Harold Matheson was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend Lyndsay van Blanken in Sydney, Australia in a case titled "The Body in the Sports Bag" murder. He is currently serving a life sentence (with a minimum term of 18 years).

18-year-old van Blanken, a Disney animation trainee, first met Matheson in 2001 when he played cello at her mother's wedding. She ended the relationship in 2003 after falling in love with and becoming engaged to an American she met on the internet.



Van Blanken went missing on the evening of November 24, 2003. Her badly decomposed body was found in a cricket bag hidden in the storeroom of a unit block in the inner-east Sydney suburb of Queens Park seven weeks later.[1 ]

Matheson had lured her to the unit block - a place the pair had previously visited together several times - and strangled her with cable ties. He then stuffed her body into a bag he had bought three days earlier and left it in the storeroom.

Two weeks after the murder, police stopped Matheson early in the morning "lurking suspiciously" in a quiet Coogee street. In his backpack they found what one source described as a "body disposal kit": a small axe, a pair of scissors, a Stanley knife, three pairs of surgical gloves, two torches, a candle and candle holder, newspaper, cling wrap, concentrated deodoriser and a bottle of holy water.[1 ]

Police later found Ms van Blanken's body on 10 January 2004 after residents at the Queen Street apartments complained of a foul smell - the badly decomposed body was found by a building maintenance inspector. Post mortem results showed Sydney van Blanken died from asphyxiation[2].


Matheson, was tried in the NSW Supreme Court over the murder of van Blanken. He was found guilty, in December 2005, of strangling his ex-girlfriend and stuffing her body in a cricket bag.[1 ] Acting Justice Mathews described the crime as brutal and cruel to the extreme, and sentenced him to life imprisonment with a minimum of 18 years [3]. He will not be eligible for parole until 2022.

The court was told Matheson became obsessed with Ms van Blanken after their break-up, often turning up unannounced at her home and workplace. Ms van Blanken had allegedly been worried that Matheson, could not come to terms with the end of their relationship[4]. The 18-year-old from Waverley had been his first girlfriend.

Police also alleged the bag - a sports bag on wheels - was only sold at one store in Sydney's eastern suburbs. That store had sold only one such bag, on November 22, and Matheson had admitted being near the Bondi Junction store around the time it was bought.


van Blanken's murder was the focus of the Crime Investigation Australia series 1 episode 14 The Body in the Sports Bag[5].




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