Richard John HAZEL
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # ?
Stations: Redfern ( about 1985 ), Kings Cross
Service: From ? to ?
Died: September 2002
Cause: Suicide at Caringbah. Knife in the chest, but also a suspected murder.
Funeral date: ?
Funeral location: ?
Grave site: ?
FURTHER INFORMATION IS NEEDED ON THIS PERSON
It should be noted that there was a suicide of a former Police officer by the name of Hazell who killed himself allegedly surrounded by news articles of the 1996 Royal Commission, in which he had been summonsed as a witness at the time.
It shows the long lasting and continued effects of the Royal Commission on those involved.
Not obscured by the thin blue line
Glen McNamara – who was set up in the police force by corrupt officers he investigated, then was cleared, then pensioned off – is presented here as the archetypal honest cop who flew in the face of a corrupt system and was savaged by it. Even though he is writing about himself, it has a ring of authenticity. A former investigator with the National Crime Authority and with the NSW Police, where he was a detective stationed in Kings Cross and Sydney’s south, he gave evidence to the NSW Police Royal Commission about alleged police protection of paedophiles.
With Savage Obsessions: True Crime from the Streets of Kings Cross, McNamara has joined other former police, such as former assistant commissioner Clive Small, in writing about crime, capitalising on its popularity – as exemplified by the success of the Underbelly TV series – and drawing on the vast volume of inside information available to police.
His chapters are fairly short and each tells a different story. But the linking theme, about criminal obsession (”The criminal mind is self-obsessed and determined, and I realised that this trait knows no boundaries, professional or otherwise”) seems to work.
What amounts to a series of snapshots of police work does give some revealing insights, including into the corruption and brutality once prevalent in Kings Cross, seen from the inside.
Some insights are new, such as the horrific sexual abuse paedophile ”Dolly” Dunn committed while on the staff of Catholic schools – an aspect of Dunn’s life hinted at but never disclosed. It does raise the question of how he continued so long.
McNamara confirms what was suggested as a defence in the Schapelle Corby case, that there has been a corrupt ring of airport baggage handlers dealing in illicit drugs, and mentions the case of an unnamed couple who got right through the international barriers and then found drugs in their bag.
He goes in detail into the wretched tangle surrounding drug dealer Warren Lanfranchi and his supposed girlfriend Sally Ann Huckstepp. Also, he deals with the wretchedness of Rick Hazell, who was drawn into paedophile protection, gave evidence to the Police Royal Commission and died in circumstances a coroner found were an accident but which McNamara believes was murder.
Like any account by a former cop, the presentation is all black and white, with no attempt at interpretation on sociological lines. People are either law abiders or rotters.
There could be no compassion for sex offender Bruce Synold who, according to McNamara, boasted that he would crawl naked into people’s bedrooms, slither across the floor like a snake and touch the sleeping couple lightly ”to see if they would stir”. Or cat burglar John Harvey Rider, who sneaked into the bedrooms of sleeping children. There is no doubt that a ”homicidal maniac”, Mark Hampson, with his Rasputin-like beard and his penchant for swords, was a bad man. And so were rapist Bilal Skaf and adoptive parent-killer Heidi McGarvie.
But the selection of cases rather glosses over, by omission, the vast array of other stories that could be told about people who have committed offences. Qualifications can be written into some accounts of crime to explain how these dreadful things happened. And, from time to time, how people are wrongly convicted.
New Holland, 147pp, $29.95