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Teen Girl Murdered By Her Jealous Friend | Rachel Barber


Teen Girl Murdered By Her Jealous Friend | Rachel Barber

In the quiet suburb of Melbourne, Australia, a chilling crime unfolded that shook the community to its core. This is the heartbreaking story of Rachel Barber, a vibrant and promising teenage girl whose life was tragically cut short by her babysitter, a person she should have been able to trust.

In this blog, we will delve into the details of this shocking incident, exploring the events that led to Rachel's untimely demise and the aftermath that left a lasting impact on those who knew her.


Background of Rachel Barber

Rachel Barber, born on September 12, 1983, was a much-loved girl in Mont Albert, Melbourne. Her parents, Elizabeth and Michael Barber, adored her, and she had two younger sisters, Heather and Ashleigh-Rose.

With striking features—dark brown hair and sparkling green eyes—Rachel was a standout. The family moved to Mont Albert in the early '90s when Rachel was around 9.

Rachel's passion was dancing, a talent that amazed everyone around her. Shy, at first, transformed into a captivating performer during dance class or when she danced for her family at home. The Barbers settled well into the friendly neighborhood, making a positive impression on neighbors. However, among them was Caroline Reed Robertson, a neighbor fixated on Rachel.


Caroline Reed Robertson – The Babysitter

Caroline Reed Robertson, the babysitter involved in Rachel Barber's tragic story, entered the Barber family's life because her younger sister was friends with one of Rachel's sisters. In 1996, when Rachel was 15, Caroline, who was five years older, started babysitting for them. Little did anyone know that this seemingly normal arrangement would lead to a disturbing obsession.

As Caroline spent more time with the Barbers, she began comparing herself to Rachel in a way that deepened her insecurities. Rachel, a talented dancer with a graceful presence, stood in sharp contrast to Caroline, who felt lonely and disgusted with herself. Rachel's slender figure, a dancer's body, made Caroline envious, especially as she struggled with her own weight.

Rachel's stylish clothes and admirable fashion sense only intensified Caroline's feelings of not measuring up. In Caroline's eyes, Rachel embodied everything she believed she could never be — successful, happy, and popular. To Caroline, Rachel was the ideal person, someone who could grace the cover of a magazine with her looks, talent, and widespread popularity.

This unhealthy obsession eventually led Caroline down a dark path, resulting in the tragic events of March 1999. The stark differences between their lives highlight the heartbreaking story of Rachel Barber, a vibrant young girl whose life was cut short by the very person meant to care for her.


The Obsession Unveiled

In late 1998, Caroline's borderline obsession with Rachel took a dark turn. Despite her resentful feelings and low self-esteem, she cunningly maintained a facade of friendship. Caroline, with her manipulative tendencies, managed to stay close to Rachel, meticulously monitoring every aspect of her life.

Around this time, Rachel, a talented dancer, joined the prestigious Dance Factory studio in Richmond, a considerable distance from her home. As Rachel's dancing skills and potential modeling career blossomed, Caroline found herself working in a less glamorous desk job with a mobile phone service provider in St Kilda Rd, Melbourne.

Caroline's fixation on Rachel deepened as she noticed a budding romance between Rachel and fellow student Emmanuel Carella. The two became known as "Romeo and Juliet" among their classmates. Despite Rachel's growing success, Caroline's obsession remained hidden as she continued to act as a friend.

In early 1999, Caroline approached Rachel's parents with a seemingly innocent request to take photographs for a project. Little did they know that this request was a ploy to feed Caroline's disturbing fixation on the unsuspecting teenager.



The Plotting of Murder

The project was a sinister plot to end Rachel Barber's life. In the summer of 1999, Caroline Reed Robertson, the babysitter, sought Rachel's birth date and even attempted to get a copy of her birth certificate. This disturbing plan aimed to eliminate Rachel and assume her identity. Caroline harbored the delusion that by eliminating Rachel, she could seamlessly take over her life without anyone noticing.

Caroline's diary provided chilling confirmation of her intentions, detailing plans to lace pizza with "drowsy powder." The night of February 28, 1999, marked the last time the Barber family spent together. Caroline deviously tricked Rachel into meeting her the following evening after dance classes, enticing her with $100 and free clothes under the guise of a "psychology study." The intricate details of this nefarious plot unfolded, revealing the cold and calculated nature of the crime that shattered the Barber family's world.


The Fateful Day

On the fateful day, Rachel Barber's routine seemed ordinary until it took a dark turn. After her dance class, around 6:15 in the evening, she was last seen getting off a tram in the company of a mysterious woman. The day started with her father dropping her off at a tram stop on Riverdale and Elgar Road, the usual routine for her dance school. Little did he know that it would be the last time he saw his daughter alive.

Rachel had been unusually secretive about her evening plans, telling friends about a paying job she couldn't discuss due to secrecy. Her father, Emmanuel "Manny," had reservations and expressed concern about her safety, but Rachel reassured him. The secrecy surrounding her plans added an air of mystery to the unfolding events.

As the evening progressed, Rachel's parents grew increasingly worried when she didn't show up at the agreed meeting spot. The alarm was raised, setting off a chain of events that would lead to the heartbreaking discovery of Rachel's lifeless body, marking the end of a young life filled with promise.


The Disappearance Shrouded With Mystery

The mystery lingers in the events of that sad day. On March 2, the police questioned many people, from Rachel's friends to those on the street, trying to piece together the puzzle. Rachel left school with friends, said goodbye at 17:45, and then met Caroline Reed Robertson, an old friend. They took a tram to Pragrand and went to Caroline's apartment. There, something terrible happened.

A witness remembered Rachel looking beautiful compared to her friend. Inside the apartment, Rachel was drugged and strangled with a phone cord. Her body stayed there for two days while her family desperately searched.

Then, Caroline heartlessly took Rachel's body to her father's farm, burying her next to a cat she had buried before. As Caroline planned a new life, investigators found clues in her phone records. A search of her apartment uncovered an application for a birth certificate in Rachel's name, sealing her fate.


Investigation

When Rachel Barber went missing, the police went to Caroline Reed Robertson's house. There, they found bags of clothes that didn't belong to Caroline but were the same size as Rachel's. Even more concerning, they found an application for a copy of Rachel's birth certificate in Caroline's name.

Quickly, they took Caroline to the police station, where she admitted to murdering Rachel. In October 2000, during the court hearing, Caroline confessed her guilt. She explained that she felt unhappy and like a "nobody," and she wanted to be someone else, someone better.

Caroline had become fixated on Rachel because she thought Rachel was everything she wished to be – pure and perfect. The investigation exposed a crime fueled by Caroline's personal struggles and a strange desire for a different life. It showed how dangerous obsessions can lead to tragic outcomes.



Caroline Reed Robertson's Trial and Sentence

The trial of Caroline Reed Robertson shed light on the disturbing mindset behind Rachel Barber's murder. Forensic psychiatrist Justine Barry-Walsh, during the court hearing, described Caroline as "profoundly disturbed." Although she wasn't legally insane, Barry-Walsh suggested that Caroline might have believed she could reshape herself in Rachel's image.


Justice Served

Following the trial, Caroline received a sentence of 20 years in prison, with a minimum term of 14 ½ years. In 2015, Caroline Reed Robertson was granted parole, a decision met with opposition from Rachel's grieving parents.

Despite their objection, Rachel's parents expressed a desire for Caroline to face the consequences of her actions, hoping that she would be left alone to reintegrate into society and perhaps contribute positively. The legal proceedings highlighted the complex psychological factors at play, leaving the community to grapple with the unsettling truth behind Rachel's tragic demise.


Parole: Present Times

After being diagnosed with a personality disorder post-murder, Caroline Reed Robertson spent 15 years in prison. Judge Vincent, recognizing her as a genuine threat, stated she was dangerous to anyone caught in the web of her fixation. Surprisingly, in 2015, she was granted parole, leading to her release.

During her time in prison, Robertson never demonstrated remorse for her crimes. Instead, she focused on transforming her appearance, notably resembling her victim, Rachel Barber. The extent of the change was so apparent that Barber's mother noticed a striking likeness, particularly in the eyes.

Today, Robertson resides on the opposite side of Victoria, keeping a significant distance from the Barber family. Despite her freedom, she has not shown any remorse or offered an apology for the murder of Rachel, leaving the community and the victim's family grappling with the lack of accountability for this heinous act.


Impact on the Community

The Rachel Barber case left an indelible mark on the Melbourne community. Parents were forced to reevaluate the trust they placed in those they allowed into their homes, especially when it came to the safety of their children. The tragedy sparked conversations about the importance of vetting caregivers and being vigilant about signs of unhealthy behavior.


Conclusion

The story of Rachel Barber is a chilling reminder that tragedy can strike when we least expect it. Her life, filled with promise, was cut short by the very person entrusted with her care. The community was left grappling with the harsh reality that even those we believe to be trustworthy can harbor dark secrets. The case serves as a cautionary tale, urging us to be vigilant and proactive in protecting the ones we hold dear from potential harm. As we remember Rachel Barber, we are reminded of the fragility of life and the importance of fostering a safe environment for the younger generation to thrive.


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