The jury remains out on the trial of cruise passenger Mark Wilhelm who is accused of killing fellow passenger, Dianne Brimble, on the P & O Cruises’ Pacific Sun by supplying her with the date rape drug fantasy. 

We have commented on the case, explaining the risk of date rape drugs and the "crawfishing" testimony of Wilhelm’s cruise buddies Dragan Losic and Letterio Silvestri to get their buddy off of the hook for his bad conduct.

The case is now in the hands of the jurors, who have endured the technical arguments of defendant Wilhelm’s lawyers that Ms. Brimble did not have the drugs forced upon her, and so forth, and so on, and etcetera and etcetera. 

The jury will return its verdict this week.  The results seem to be a crap shoot, although I predict a conviction of defendant Wilhelm for giving Ms. Brimble the GHB which killed her.  But, and there is always a but, if the jury acquits Wilhelm – he will leave the courthouse with smiles and nervous laughter of relief. 

And the injustice to the Brimble family will continue.

Whatever the verdict, there remains the disturbing images of what happened on the Pacific Sun in 2002. Lessons remain to be learned to prevent a repeat of this disaster.

Several years ago, I printed out two articles which I have kept in my home office to remind me of this sad case.

One article was in the Sydney Morning Herald by Robert Wainwright entitled "Women Fair Game for Cruise’s Hunting Pack." This is a disturbing article, filled with sexual predators and "the heady cocktail of alcohol, drugs and the thought of women trapped aboard a ship . . ."

If you read this article, you will need a shower to remove the sleaze.  There is no denying the palpable depravity on the P & O Cruises’ cruise ship, with no real security and an "anything goes" attitude which are as responsible for Ms. Brimble’s death as the scummy men who preyed upon her. 

The other article is entitled "Dianne Brimble and Me" by author Caroline Hutchinson who wrote the book  "Is It Just Me?"

Ms. Hutchinson’s self-reflective article reveals the horror of Ms. Brimble’s death on the floor of an economy-class cabin of the Pacific Sky cruise ship and the despicable men who caused her death.  Ms. Hutchinson writes:

"One of these men, Leo Silvestri, told the police that Dianne Brimble’s death in his cabin ruined his holiday. He has admitted that on the morning in question, he woke to find Mrs Brimble dead on the floor, then showered and dressed her lifeless body.

Witnesses have told the inquest Mr. Silvestri later joked with fellow passengers that he considered throwing her body overboard.

Mr Silvestri told police that the night before Mrs. Brimble died, she allegedly walked up to his table and said: ‘Hi, how are you going?’

‘It’s like, Hi, see you. I just brushed her off; I didn’t want to speak to her … breath, yuck, ugly dog, just go talk to someone else. Ring the RSPCA,’ Silvestri said.

Later in the interview, Mr. Silvestri repeatedly referred to Mrs. Brimble as the ‘thing’ and called her the ‘ugly dog.’ 

He prided himself on the fact he didn’t ‘talk to anything over 60 kilos.’

Ms. Hutchinson’s article brings home the frightful specter of an insecure women running into a pack of wolves like this, whether the setting is a cruise ship or a neighborhood bar.  What are the lessons to be learned from this terrible tale?  Ms. Hutchinson again brings the point home reflecting on the question of how we are raising our own boys: 

"I want you to take a look around today. Look at your sons, and think about what their values are.

Are your boys kind? Are they generous of spirit? Do they think about the needs of other people? Are they brave? Do you trust them to do the right thing?

Would your son stand up for a drunken girl being harassed or degraded by a group of older blokes? Would he drag Dianne Brimble out of a ship’s cabin and get her help?

Look at your son.

Ask yourself if he’s that kind of boy.

Because that’s the type of man we need him to be."

Photo Credit:

Photo of "gang of 8"      The Age newspaper

Book cover "Is It Just Me?"    Caroline Hutchinson