The West Australian - - FRONT PAGE - Mark Morri and Janet Fife-Yeomans

No­to­ri­ous Syd­ney hit man Arthur “Neddy” Smith was in­ter­viewed in jail about the 1975 mur­der of Shirley Finn at the same time as his old part­ner-in-crime, con­victed killer Roger Roger­son.

The no­to­ri­ous age­ing crim­i­nals and now sworn en­e­mies were quizzed by Perth de­tec­tives while in the geri­atric and hos­pi­tal wings of Syd­ney’s Long Bay jail.

The West Aus­tralian re­vealed last year that Roger­son, Aus­tralia’s most no­to­ri­ous bent cop, got a sur­prise visit in late 2014 from de­tec­tives from WA’s cold case squad while he was in a NSW re­mand cen­tre await­ing trial for mur­der. It can be re­vealed Smith, now suf­fer­ing from ad­vanced Parkin­son’s, was also in­ter­viewed.

It was claimed in ev­i­dence on Tues­day at an in­quest into Ms Finn’s death that se­rial killer Smith was flown to Perth and paid $5000 to kill Ms Finn, a brothel madam who died of four gun­shot wounds to the back of her head.

Dis­graced for­mer de­tec­tive Roger­son, 76, is al­leged to have been in Perth around the time Ms Finn’s body was found.

It is claimed that he was seen drink­ing with an al­leged cor­rupt cop and “Mr Sin” Abe Saf­fron, the or­gan­ised crime fig­ure and brothel owner who ran Kings Cross at that time and had ex­ten­sive busi­ness in­ter­ests in Perth, in­clud­ing the Raf­fles Ho­tel.

Smith walked into the in­ter­view with Perth de­tec­tives aided by his Zim­mer frame and told them in a shaky and quiet voice: “I’m not go­ing to ad­mit to any­thing but I will talk to you.”

WA Po­lice in­ves­ti­gated whether Roger­son, then at the height of his ca­reer, was in Perth at the time on sec­ond­ment which was a pop­u­lar prac­tice be­tween po­lice forces at the time.

Ms Finn was found dead in her Dodge car near the ninth fair­way of the Royal Perth Golf Club in South Perth, wear­ing a full-length ball gown.

She was killed three days be­fore a tax hear­ing, at which she was threat­en­ing to blow the whis­tle on il­licit deal­ings by politi­cians, busi­ness­men and po­lice.

For­mer de­tec­tive James Boland told the Coro­ner’s Court on Tues­day that he was work­ing for the fraud squad in 1975 and ar­rested a man for us­ing bad cheques about five weeks af­ter Ms Finn’s mur­der.

Mr Boland said the man’s boyfriend, known as Keith Al­lan Lewis, ap­proached him seek­ing to cut a deal for the charges to be re­duced in ex­change for in­for­ma­tion about Ms Finn’s mur­der.

Mr Boland said Mr Lewis told him that Smith, a heroin dealer and armed rob­ber, had ap­proached him about run­ning pros­ti­tu­tion in WA but Mr Lewis had said he was not in­ter­ested.

Mr Boland’s rec­ol­lec­tions of Mr Lewis’ claims were sup­ported by an of­fi­cial po­lice doc­u­ment pro­duced in court which showed that in­quiries had in­cluded check­ing flight records, which con­firmed a per­son with Smith’s name had trav­elled to Perth on the day of the mur­der.

But he said that when he pre­sented the in­for­ma­tion to his boss, the for­mer CIB chief Don Han­cock, he was told not to have any­thing fur­ther to do with the in­quiry.

Mr Han­cock was killed in 2001 by a car bomb planted by a Gypsy Joker bikie.

The in­quest was ad­journed to Septem­ber 11. It is not known whether Smith or Roger­son will be called to give ev­i­dence.

Arthur “Neddy” Smith guarded by cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers as they leave the Supreme Court in Syd­ney.

Roger Roger­son

The West’s front page yes­ter­day

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