The Courier-Mail

HELP US, WE ARE SITTING DUCKS

Partner of slain cop made frantic plea as killer opened fire with automatic weapon

- THOMAS CHAMBERLIN, KATE KYRIAKOU

SLAIN police officer Senior Constable Brett Forte’s partner made a desperate plea for help as a crazed gunman shot at their car, declaring in a harrowing radio call: “We are sitting ducks”.

Extraordin­ary evidence emerged on day one of an inquest into the 2017 deaths of Sen Const Forte (inset) and the man who killed him, including that officers on the ground were not made aware of his links to automatic weapons. A day before the shooting, Ricky

Maddison showed a cache of guns to a friend, declaring he was about to “become big, big news”.

A DAY before Ricky Maddison rounded on police officers with an SKS semiautoma­tic rifle, he led his best mate to the back of his car, unveiled a cache of guns and declared he was about to “become big, big news”.

The chilling evidence emerged at an inquest into the 2017 deaths of Senior Constable Brett Forte and the man who killed him, along with a harrowing radio call in which an officer pleaded for help and claimed they were “sitting ducks”.

Police in Toowoomba had not been told of his links to automatic weapons, with intelligen­ce reports going back 10 years, the inquest was told.

And they had not been told about an ongoing investigat­ion into reports of automatic gunfire in the bush, despite police in nearby Gatton setting up a hidden camera near Maddison’s home.

At the time, there was no link between Maddison and multiple calls from locals saying they could hear an automatic weapon being fired.

One of Ricky Maddison’s closest friends, Andrew Beveridge, told the court that the day before the shooting Maddison came to his home and showed him up to eight guns in the back of his car.

Maddison, who was wanted by police and in hiding, told his friend: “It’s only when I become big, big, news that anyone is going to look at me case and see what they did to me.”

The next day, Maddison made an expletive-laden phone call to officers from a pay phone, demanding to know what charges they would level at him.

The inquest heard Maddison believed police were out of get him and complained that an ex-partner had invented allegation­s against him.

The court heard Maddison was accused of pouring fuel over his ex-partner, leading to him being charged with torture and deprivatio­n of liberty in 2015.

The charges were later dropped, but Maddison believed police were attempting to reinstigat­e proceeding­s.

Two years later, Maddison went to the woman’s house and fired a gun into the air.

This incident led to multiple attempts to find Maddison, who managed to evade police throughout March, April and May. Police believed he was living “off the grid”.

An arrest warrant was later issued for his arrest.

“I’ve been f--ked,” he told Toowoomba Sergeant Peter Jenkins during the May 29 phone call, just an hour before he would shoot Sen Const Forte. Sgt Jenkins repeatedly asked Maddison to come into the station or reveal his whereabout­s.

“If you wish to come in and speak to us, then we will sort the matter out,” Sgt Jenkins said. Maddison refused, demanding to know whether police would reinstate the domestic violence charges he’d “fought for two years”.

“I can tell you there are a number of charges that relate to you ... I’m not going to discuss your case over the phone with you,” Sgt Jenkins said, adding that Maddison should “man up” and turn himself in. “You f--king man up and come f--king get me then,” Maddison said.

Police dashcam footage shows that officers located Maddison in his car about 1.52pm, after the phone call and began an authorised pursuit. Officers organised for tyre-deflating “stingers” to stop Maddison, specialist police were called and requests were made for Polair to help. Officers were warned

A utomatic gunfire, automatic gunfire ... A p olice vehicle has rolled. He’s shooting automatic f ire heard on Police officer as the inquest radio played to

We need help here. We’re sitting ducks Senior Constable Catherine Nielsen

that Maddison had been involved in firearms incidents, “so any take-down, be very careful”.

At a spot on the Warrego Highway at Helidon, police threw stingers on to the road, but Maddison was able to swerve around them.

At 2.14pm, Maddison suddenly veered off the highway. Police followed him along Forestry Rd before he turned on to Wallers Rd, north of Gatton – a dirt road.

The police vehicle continued to follow Maddison along the dirt road, his car largely obscured by dust.

Maddison suddenly appeared standing beside his now stationary 4WD ute, pointed a gun at the police car and began firing.

Harrowing radio calls could be heard of officers realising that they were in serious danger.

“Automatic gunfire, automatic gunfire,” one officer said. “Need urgent assistance. A police vehicle has rolled. He’s shooting automatic fire.”

Vision from Sen Const Forte’s dash camera showed the car reversing until it rolled on to its side.

A radio call was made by Sen Const Forte’s partner, Senior Constable Catherine Nielsen, who pleaded for help.

“We need help here,” she said. “We are sitting ducks.”

Maddison fired a total of 46 rounds at the police cars, the inquest heard.

One of the bullets hit Sen Const Forte in the right arm.

Another struck him in the groin area.

Officers following in a vehicle from Helidon – Senior Constable Scott Hill, Senior Constable Stephen Barlow and Constable Brittany Poulton – rushed to help Sen Const Nielsen, despite Maddison continuing to fire. The officers then had to smash the front window to get Sen Const Forte out of the car at 2.38pm and took him to a safe area to commence CPR.

Sen Const Forte was declared dead at 3.29pm.

Specialist police endured a 20-hour siege with Maddison after the shooting.

They eventually killed him after he came out of his property firing his weapon.

The inquest, which was attended by Sen Const Forte’s father, retired officer Stuart, and Brett’s wife, serving officer Susie, continues.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Susie S i Forte (main), wife of Senior Constable Forte (left); (above) a rolled police vehicle; and where Ricky Maddison (below) was killed. Pictures: Peter Wallis, Channel 7, Channel 10
Susie S i Forte (main), wife of Senior Constable Forte (left); (above) a rolled police vehicle; and where Ricky Maddison (below) was killed. Pictures: Peter Wallis, Channel 7, Channel 10
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia