Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Walsh Street Killings

The murders of two young Melbourne Police officers still reverberates through Australia to this day, with controversy raging as to whether it was an Underworld payback for the shooting dead by Melbourne Police of career criminal Graeme Jensen.  This tale started out on October 11th 1988, when Police had Jensen under surveillance, as he was suspected of being part of a robbery gang that had hit four banks.  The plan to box his car in went awry when one of the cars was held up by traffic and so Jensen made to drive through a gap.  Ordered to stop, somebody shouted that Jensen had a firearm, so Police opened fire, killing him.  Jensen was another high profile gangster that Police had shot dead.  At 4.50 am on October 12th, two young constables, 22 tear old Steven Tynan and 20 year old Damian Eyre, were dispatched to Walsh Street to check on an abandoned car.  Constable Tynan was shot dead by shotgun as he sat in their car.  Constable Eyre was also shot but despite serious injuries, he grappled with the gunman.  It was then that somebody came up behind him, took his service revolver and shot Damian Eyre in the head.

    The massive response by Melbourne Police put four men in the dock, accused of the double murder.  Two were members of the notorious Pettingill family, Trevor Pettingill & Victor Pierce.  Also charged were Peter McEvoy & Tony Farrell.  Appearing as state witnesses were two the Pettingill family, young Jason Ryan and Wendy Pierce, wife of Victor.  But, by the time of the trial, Wendy Pierce had retracted her statements, and as a hostile witness, she was never called to give evidence.  All four defendants were acquitted.  Two other men Police alleged had been involved in the murders, were Jedd Houghton & Gary Abdallah.  Both had been shot dead by Victoria Police before the trial.  The only evidential piece Police had, was that the shotgun used in the murders, was also the gun used in bank raids.  Robbers had dropped some shells and casings during the Oak Park bank raid.  The gun was found much later, partially buried.  Police believed that Pierce, Houghton, Jensen & McEvoy, were part of the gang responsible for the bank raids.

    In 2005, Wendy Pierce admitted that her now deceased husband Victor, had in fact planned and carried out the Walsh Street murders.  Whether it was true or not, there is nothing Police can do a dead villain.