WHAT HIT MAN NEDDY SMITH TOLD WA POLICE
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.
The West’s front page yesterday