‘Psychotic bad guy’ to walk free


With his camera never far from reach, Michael Anthony Guider seeped into at least a dozen Sydney families.

He was the man who broke up "the boring school holidays" for children aged from 16 to two.

"Regrettably, they appear to have found him entertaining," a sentencing judge once expressed.

Guider - a serial paedophile and child killer - has been described as compulsive, dangerous, deceptive, manipulative, remorseless, "psychosexually impaired" and a loner.

Drawings of young boys were found in his jail cell as recently as 2012.

And he could soon be back on the streets.

Guider has been in jail since February 1996 for dozens of child sex offences and the manslaughter of nine-year-old Bondi schoolgirl Samantha Knight.

He has never revealed her final resting place.

The now 68-year-old has since served his time for the countless convictions and has been due to be released since June.

But NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman is fighting to keep him there.

Samantha Knight disappeared in 1986. Guider only admitted in 2002 to having killed her.
Samantha Knight disappeared in 1986. Guider only admitted in 2002 to having killed her.

Before the community came to fear Guider, he wore many hats.

Babysitter, part-time gardener, copy boy, clerical assistant, labourer and cleaner to name a few.

From at least 1980, and for the next 15 years, Guider befriended the mothers of young children in Sydney and regularly visited their homes.

"The specific modus operandi adopted by the defendant, whereby the child victims could be more readily sexually assaulted (and perhaps to render them with no memory of what had been done to them), was to administer them a well-known sedative," Justice Richard Button said earlier this year.

Stupefying drugs were his weapon of choice.

Guider befriended Sydney women and abused their children from 1980.
Guider befriended Sydney women and abused their children from 1980.

Guider infiltrated families and provided gifts and outings for the children, all why masking his unspeakable crimes from their adult loved ones.

"His tentacles have such insidious reach," Lisa Giles, one of more than a dozen of his child sexual abuse victims, said in the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney last Tuesday.

"He positioned himself to be able to realise his fantasies over, and over, and over.

"He was like a travelling showman."

He was "the guy who breaks up the boring school holidays" but was "hunting in plain sight", she said.

Police in 1996 found thousands of indecent photographs in Guider's possession along with pornographic books, children's underwear and cameras.

Ms Giles, 43, publicly revealed the atrocities of her childhood for the first time this week in a bid to convince the court her attacker - who "discarded" children when they got too old - should never be freed.

She'd prepared 13 pages worth of reasons.

"If we don't fight, we die...and we give ourselves over to the tragedy completely," she said.

"He is the real life version of the psychotic bad guy you see in the movies."

She expressed concern about having to review the status of Guider's freedom until he is dead.

"We are not physically safe if he is released, our children are not safe and our minds are not safe."

The State of NSW has applied for Guider to be kept in jail for another year by way of a continuing detention order.

Mr Speakman is also seeking an extended supervision order with stringent conditions - including electronic monitoring and anti-libidinal medication - for at least five years after that.


Guider in 2001. Picture: Mick Tsikas
Guider in 2001. Picture: Mick Tsikas

Guider was first jailed in 1996 after pleading guilty to 60 child sex offences against nine young girls and two young boys.

These included 15 counts of sexual intercourse without consent "comprising acts of penile penetration, penetration with a finger and with objects, and oral intercourse".

He was sentenced to a maximum of 16 years "penal servitude" for 16 counts of administering a stupefying drug with intent to commit an indictable offence.

Fixed terms of six years, four years, 18 months, 12 months and nine months were imposed for all of his other crimes.

But they were all served concurrently and therefore completely overlapped.

In 2000, he was nabbed for eight more child sexual assault offences dating back to the 1980s.

He was sentenced to further terms of six-and-a-half years' imprisonment and of 12 months.

These were also served concurrently.

Finally, in 2002 and part way through his child abuse prison sentences, Guider pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Samantha Knight and received a head sentence of 17 years' jail.

It took immediate effect.

"Had Guider been serving his sentences consecutively, we wouldn't be here today," Ms Giles said.

"He would be incarcerated for life."


Samantha Knight.
Samantha Knight.


Samantha's mother, Tess Knight, "woke up in hell" 33 years ago when her daughter vanished without a trace off a street in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

The nine-year-old was last seen talking to an adult male on Bondi Rd in August 1986.

"Did she remember him (Guider) from years ago when we lived in Manly? Unlikely," Ms Knight opined in court on Tuesday.

"Had he been stalking her in Bondi? Possibly."

Ms Knight has always wondered about her daughter's death at the hands of Guider.

He has never spoken of her last waking moments.

"Was she scared straight away?," Ms Knight wondered aloud.

"At what point did Samantha realise something was wrong?

"Did she struggle?

"Where did he take her?

"Was it a long drive?

"Did she wonder where I was and why I wasn't there to help her?

"Did she call out for me? And what did she say?

"And was she so scared that she used the words of a younger child?

"Did she ever say 'I want my mummy'?

"Did she tell him 'I want to go home'?

"Did she cry?

"Did she panic?

"And did he drug her straight away?

"I don't imagine that poisoning is an easy death but I don't know exactly how much it hurt. Perhaps it was excruciating."

She wondered if Guider had tried to comfort Samantha as she died.

"Would that be kindness or just disgusting?" Ms Knight asked.

Her seemingly endless stream of worries rippled through the packed public gallery in the NSW Supreme Court.

Many shifted in their seats, others sobbed.

"Please don't release him into the community until the time comes when we have no choice," Ms Knight asked the judge.


Tess Knight begged Justice Button to keep Guider jailed. Picture: Paul Braven/AAP
Tess Knight begged Justice Button to keep Guider jailed. Picture: Paul Braven/AAP

The devastating scene was not witnessed by Guider who chose not to attend proceedings.

Justice Button explained to the court that as it was a civil case, Guider didn't have to appear.

The judge imposed an interim detention order when the 68-year-old's sentence expired in June and ruled that reports be prepared on him by two medical professionals.

"I am by no means sure that the chronic, intense, longstanding sexual attraction to children of the defendant has dissipated entirely," Justice Button said.

Dr Jonathon Adams, a forensic psychiatrist, gave evidence on Tuesday that Guider had told him he was "legally guilty" of killing Samantha Knight but refused to go into any details.

"I could not conclude that he fully accepted the responsibility, if we consider responsibility in terms of both legal and moral wrongfulness," the psychiatrist said.


Samantha Terese Knight, 9, is remembered as confident and outgoing.
Samantha Terese Knight, 9, is remembered as confident and outgoing.


Guider's 12-year minimum sentence for manslaughter expired in 2014 but the State Parole Authority declined to release him on the advice of the Serious Offenders Review Counsel.

He never again applied for parole.

"I would agree that we have not tested Mr Guider's capacity to comply (with supervision orders) if he is released from custody because he is still in custody," Dr Adams said.

The psychiatrist suggested Guider be prescribed anti-libidinal medication if he's released which "might well" reduce the paedophile's risk of reoffending.

"He requires long-term treatment and risk management in my view," Dr Adams said.

However, the second medical expert - psychologist Jenny Howell - gave evidence that she could not see any potential therapeutic benefit in keeping Guider in detention for another year.


Forensic psychiatrist Jonathon Adams gave evidence. Picture: Richard Dobson
Forensic psychiatrist Jonathon Adams gave evidence. Picture: Richard Dobson

Ms Howell said she'd discussed all 55 conditions proposed in the supervision order with him.

"He was quite aware that the conditions are onerous and there are five years of them," she said.

Guider's barrister, Matthew Johnston SC, said his client was prepared to take anti-libidinal medication as long as it doesn't endanger his health, noting that he has had heart problems.

Ms Howell was asked by Crown prosecutor David Kell SC about circumstances in which Guider's risk could escalate, rather than abate, over time.

"He has a deviant sexual interest which is one of the primary risk factors for reoffending," she said.

"There is also involved in his past offences that element of sexual fantasy - two issues that can change. They may be influenced by environment.

"If he were to be on an extended supervision order it would require a fairly stable and predictable level of supervision that would be able to note any changes."

Ms Howell agreed with the judge that successful management is dependant on his compliance.

"When someone doesn't get that option for parole then that opportunity (to test their capacity to comply with a court order) is lost," she said.


Surviving victim Chantelle Daly has been campaigning to keep Michael Guider behind bars. Picture: AAP/Bianca De Marchi
Surviving victim Chantelle Daly has been campaigning to keep Michael Guider behind bars. Picture: AAP/Bianca De Marchi


Ms Giles wasn't the only one of Guider's victims to advocate for his continued incarceration.

Chantelle Daly was drugged, abused and photographed as a child by Guider, who had been her babysitter.

It's "appalling" Guider could be released without revealing Samantha's remains, she said.

"I believe any child killer who is convicted, either of the murder or manslaughter of a child, should never be allowed freedom if they withhold the location of where they dumped the body of their victim," her petition to the NSW governor, signed by more than 183,000 people, reads.

Ms Daly wants the legislation to be called Knights Law.

"Let's keep child killers out of our community and behind bars where they belong," she said.

"No body, no release."

Justice Button has reserved his decision.

"It is true to say that the position of the plaintiff (State of NSW) itself envisages the release of the defendant (Guider) in the reasonably near future," the judge said in June.

He will deliver judgment in Sydney by September 4 - the day before Guider's interim detention order expires.


Guider in 2002.
Guider in 2002.
Tess Knight searched desperately for her daughter.
Tess Knight searched desperately for her daughter.
Lisa Giles attended Guider’s final court hearing. Picture: AAP/Joel Carrett
Lisa Giles attended Guider’s final court hearing. Picture: AAP/Joel Carrett

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