Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Diappearance of Juanita Neilsen

If you ever get the chance to see an Australian film entitled "The Killing of Angel Street", give it a view as it is a very good story that is actually based on truth.  This was the diappearance on July 4th 1975, of activist campaigner Juanita Neilsen, and the subsequent theories, changing of stories and the mystery of her disappearance.  She has never been found.  Troubles began when a developer named Frank Theeman wanted to evict many residents from their homes in Victoria Street in the Kings Cross area of Sydney.  He had plans for a multi-million dollar apartment complex for that street but the residents refused to move.

    Neilsen was one of the residents herself, and used the independent newspaper she published, to bring the problem to wide attention.  Men started intimidating the residents, and the man who led them was none other than notorious former cop, Fred Krahe.  Local Police heroically stood by and did nothing whilst Krahe led thugs to harass and threaten people.  One man was abducted, taken to a motel, and threatened with death for three days, unless he backed off with his support for the residents.  He was released and then left the area.  There was an attempt to abduct Neilsen from her home, but her boyfriend was there with her and the attempt was dropped.  The claim made by one of the proposed abductors, was to take her to people who wanted to talk to her about her campaign.  The only person suffering was Frank Theeman, and he was losing a lot of money because they could not start the redeveloping.

    It was on July 4th 1975, that she went to a meeting at a club owned by Sydney gangster Abe Saffron, the so-called "King of sin",  the owner of strip clubs, gambling joints, and other vices.  She was never seen again.  A receptionist at the club gave, over the years, differing acounts of what supposedly happened in the club and who was there.  Nobody has ever been charged with any offence over the disappearance.  There have been four suspects, but there was no evidence linking them to anything.  The obvious suspect was Theeman, who was losing a great deal financially.  Abe Saffron, the club owner.  The manager of the club, James Anderson, and finally, Fred Krahe.  One allegation was that he and two others raped and then murdered her, but there is no proof of this.  The case resurfaces over the years, as dedicated reporters still try to dig up evidence as to what happened. 

    In the film, "The Killing of Angel Street", the woman campaigner is supported by a journalist(Played by John Hargreaves) but he is murdered by the gangster developer to show her how serious he is.  She is abducted by heavies who take her to the top of a tower block, and continously held over the side, as if she is going to be thrown.  Then they take her to a Police Station and hand her to Police who then thoroughly humiliate her, indicating that they can get the Police to do anything for them.  Looking at the long history of corruption in Australian Police, this is most certainly not as far-fetched as you might think.  She backs off.