Murder plot with a random victim
THE woman who hired air force policewoman Gaye Baker as a part-time escort believes the killer carefully planned her murder and didn't care who his victim was.
The receptionist from Fortitude Valley company ABCO Services, who asked not to be named, has recounted the events leading to one of Queensland's most mysterious unsolved murders.
Baker disappeared in 1972 after driving to Clayfield to meet a man who had hired her as a "hostess" for an end-of-stocktake pool party.
The 23-year-old RAAF policewoman had taken on a second job to help pay for her mother's medical care and realise her dream of travelling the world.
But she disappeared after arriving for her very first appointment for the agency. Investigators at the time found the man she was meeting had given a fake name, "John Taylor", and the party he described was made up.
The case is explored in The Courier-Mail's latest true crime podcast, Person of Interest, and is the subject of a renewed investigation by cold case homicide detectives.
The receptionist, who features in an episode released today, was one of the few people able to provide police with any information about John Taylor.
"He was very clever," the woman said.
"He'd set it all up beautifully.
"And the saddest part is he didn't seem to care who the woman was.
"It was just whoever turned up on the day because he didn't ask for anybody specifically."
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The receptionist said she would have explained to Baker that ABCO was a "straight escort" service where women were hired by men to accompany them to events or corporate functions.
Baker contacted the agency on June 27 - the same day John called to request the services of a woman for a work event in Clayfield.
The receptionist said she spoke to him several times over the following days and on June 30, a taxi driver came into the office to deliver an envelope with his payment.
Police later learned a man approached the taxi driver outside the Treasury Building on George St and asked him to deliver it to ABCO.
ABCO required payment upfront which would usually give them the opportunity to meet the client.
Women would also generally meet the client at the office but John made the booking for a Sunday morning - outside of ABCO's business hours.
"He was very confident," the receptionist said.
"He rang up a few times and I guess what always sticks in my mind is I ended up recognising his voice before he even told me who it was … he was quite amazed about that.
"Very much somebody who is used to speaking to people on the phone and all the rest of it. Definitely a business person."
Police at the time tracked down the taxi driver who dropped John's payment into the office but he told them the man approached him from behind as he sat in his cab.
"Once a date had been organised, they should have met in the office," the receptionist said. "They would ring up first (then) they were supposed to come in.
"And that's where it all went wrong. Because it was a Sunday. We didn't open on a Sunday.
"I was finishing up that week at that job and moving on to another job.
"I suppose he got the better of me because he should have come in to pay that money himself."
Baker parked her car on Bayview Terrace, Clayfield, on the morning of July 2, 1972.
She had planned to meet the man outside the Clayfield bowls club, about 150m away.
Her car, a new yellow Datsun, was later found abandoned on the street.
A dark brown or maroon Holden Monaro or Valiant Charger was seen near her vehicle.
Police want to speak to anyone who saw Baker, or either car in Clayfield on July 2.
Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.