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'Blood Territory' Is the New True-Crime Podcast Exploring a Grisly and Controversial Aussie Case

It explores the grim murder of Jim O’Connell in the NT and his parents' fight to prove his convicted killer's innocence.
By Sarah Ward
August 20, 2019
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'Blood Territory' Is the New True-Crime Podcast Exploring a Grisly and Controversial Aussie Case

It explores the grim murder of Jim O’Connell in the NT and his parents' fight to prove his convicted killer's innocence.
By Sarah Ward
August 20, 2019
  shares

All fascinating true-crime tales double as mysteries, exploring murky cases, following thorny leads, and asking questions that don't have easy or obvious answers. With ten-episode Australian podcast Blood Territory, listeners are in for all of the above, with the new Audible release not only delving into the death of 24-year-old Northern Territory man Jimmy O'Connell, but also chronicling his parents' fight to prove his convicted killer's innocence.

Back in 2006, it was a murder that sparked many a headline, as you'd expect when a body is found mummified, mutilated and missing clothes in a dry creek bed in the Northern Territory — all, apparently, because of a fight over an esky. After O'Connell's best friend and fishing companion, 33-year-old Philip Mather, was tried and convicted for his death, the case sparked even more attention. Mather insists that his confession was coerced, and that he only plead guilty to avoid spending his whole life in jail. Astonishingly, O'Connell's mother and father believe him.

An examination of a grisly murder that also ponders potential police corruption, as well as possible judicial prejudice against the NT's Indigenous peoples (Mather is himself an Indigenous Australian), Blood Territory isn't short on twists — or material for journalist Mark Whittaker to draw upon. Following the O'Connells' desperate quest for the truth, his podcast chats with family members, witnesses and professionals involved in the original case, sifts through new evidence, and dives deep into the legal complications surrounding Mather's conviction. It also proposes its own theory about Jimmy's death.

"The Top End of Australia is notorious for hiding people, and secrets that don't want to be found — it's the perfect backdrop for such a cryptic story," explains Whittaker. "As the sequences of events and unusual characters are revealed, it becomes clear this is one of the strangest Aussie mysteries I've ever encountered."

Blood Territory marks Audible's second Aussie true-crime podcast, after exploring the tale of a ghost-hunting Sydney security guard in Ghosthunter.

Blood Territory is available now on Audible — for free until November 20 with an Audible account.

Published on August 20, 2019 by Sarah Ward

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