42 episodes

Take a journey into the dark depths of the Australian criminal underworld with Australia’s most formidable crime reporter - John Silvester.

Naked City The Age and Sydney Morning Herald

    • True Crime
    • 4.6 • 44 Ratings

Take a journey into the dark depths of the Australian criminal underworld with Australia’s most formidable crime reporter - John Silvester.

    From undercover to under lock and key

    From undercover to under lock and key

    Cliff Lockwood was just 19 when he left the peace of a tiny town to join the police force. “I know it sounds funny but I just wanted to do good. Nineteen was way too young. You don’t know anything.”

    On Sunday April 9, 1989 Lockwood and his partner, Senior Detective Dermot Avon arrested car thief and suspected violent criminal Gary Abdullah and took him to his Drummond Street two level flat to search for evidence and an accomplice.

    According to police Abdullah grabbed and imitation firearm and Lockwood responded by firing six shots from his gun, then grabbed Avon’s to fire the last and fatal shot. 

    Both police were charged with murder and were acquitted.

    Lockwood’s left policing and his life spiralled out of control. He was jailed in the Northern Territory.

    Now he is back in Victoria trying to rebuild his life.

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    • 34 min
    Purana: Melbourne's gangland taskforce

    Purana: Melbourne's gangland taskforce

    For a time gangland figures lived a fast and often lucrative life, but very few made it out alive. After 11 unsolved murders, including Moran brothers Mark and Jason, and their father Lewis, police put together a taskforce to tackle the gangland war. They investigated Andrew 'Benji' Veniamin, Mick Gatto, Carl Williams and Tony Mockbell among others. 
    Purana ended up investigating over 300 people, listening in on more than 100,000 hours of phone conversations, using 39 tracking devices to follow suspects for more than 22,000 hours. One of the key police informants was lawyer Nicola Gobbo, a fact which puts several convictions into jeopardy.

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    • 27 min
    A country school kidnapping: An unbelievable tale

    A country school kidnapping: An unbelievable tale

    The rookie teacher at the tiny country school was startled during morning recess when some of the kids ran into the single weatherboard classroom, yelling: "There's a man outside with a gun."
    Rob Hunter had been the sole teacher at the Gippsland town of Wooreen for just nine days - his first posting after three years at teachers' college. He was 20 years old. Maree Young was his student, she was just 11 years old.
    The man with the revolver and wearing a Collingwood beanie as a balaclava was Geelong Prison escapee Edwin John "Ted" Eastwood, 26, who five years earlier pulled the same crime 270 kilometres away, kidnapping a teacher and six students from Faraday. It was February 14, 1977. In the next 21 hours they would experience a car crash, a night imprisoned at a remote campsite, an escape, police pursuit, a shootout and a wounding before final rescue.
    In this episode of Naked City, Rob Hunter and Maree Young tell their story, first hand. 

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    • 36 min
    Rent-a-kill: Australia's number one hitman

    Rent-a-kill: Australia's number one hitman

    By early 1985 hitman Chris Flannery was running out of friends. This was hardly surprising, as he’d killed most of them.

    Flannery had built a fearsome reputation for killing on command but when an attack dog begins to snarl at its master it is time for the big sleep.

    Flannery’s boss Sydney gangster George Freeman had lost patience with him and was a little frightened of the unpredictable gunman.

    Flannery had threatened police and had shot one – undercover detective Mick Drury. Even in corrupt Sydney that was a crime that couldn’t go unanswered.

    He killed gangsters, shot dead a law-abiding Melbourne businessman, stabbed a major banking figure and orchestrated the murder of a teenage girl who could have given evidence against him.

    The man they called Rent-a-Kill made sure most of his victims were never found and that proved to be his fate when he was ambushed and murdered.

    He was no great loss.

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    • 35 min
    Abe Saffron and Sydney's corrupt cops

    Abe Saffron and Sydney's corrupt cops

    Abraham Gilbert Saffron was a successful Sydney businessman who hated his nickname and spent a fortune trying to have it expunged from the record by threatening anyone who used it publicly.

    The name was Mr Sin and it was well deserved. He built a vice empire on a triangular business model – the three points were bribery, blackmail and arson.

    He organised sex, often with under-age boys and girls, secretly photographing patrons to use against them. 

    He paid bribes to police - $750 per club for local police and $5000 a week for senior police and was so brazen he repeatedly visited the bent Deputy Commissioner Bill Allen at headquarters.

    Six of Saffron’s many properties caught fire between 1980 and 1982 - all deliberately lit. 

    On June 9, 1979, the ghost train at Sydney’s Luna Park was engulfed in flames, killing six children and the father of one of them. It was a property Saffron wanted to own.

    The police investigation was a disgrace, not because of incompetence but corruption.

    Saffron said he wasn’t involved but he would, wouldn’t he?

     

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    • 26 min
    The man who put three police in a rubbish bin

    The man who put three police in a rubbish bin

    Robbo' Robertson was a natural undercover cop. A Vietnam veteran with the gift of the gab, he slipped seamlessly into the role of Brian Wilson, an underworld heavy from Sydney.

    In 1978 Robertson was given a new mission. He was to go deep undercover to infiltrate Australia’s best armed robbery crew, the men behind the 1976 multi-million Great Bookie Robbery.

    He was to pretend to be a corrupt armoured van driver who would tip the team about a lucrative payroll. But this time police would be waiting to make the arrest.

    What they didn’t know at the time was that one of the gang was the notorious NSW prison escapee Russell “Mad Dog” Cox.

    In the final meeting before the armed robbery Cox and Robbo were stopped by three uniformed police, unaware of the sting operation.

    Cox pulled a gun and only the quick thinking and quick talking Robbo saved them all.

    In 2021 Robbo finally received a Valour Award for his heroism.

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    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
44 Ratings

44 Ratings

Redbaron1550 ,

Fascinating

These true stories are fascinating, so well prepared and presented, easily one of if not the best series of podcasts I have listened to. Well done 👍

gazza/reid ,

Cheers

Great voice easy listening and fantastic and interesting stories.

bigmike245 ,

Worth it

Pretty good

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