1993 Cangai siege

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In March 1993 murderers Leonard Leabeater, Robert Steele and Raymond Bassett went on a nine-day rampage across Queensland and New South Wales, resulting in their taking hostages in a siege in a farmhouse at Hanging Rock Station, Cangai, near Grafton, New South Wales, and threatening to kill people indiscriminately. The trio had boasted about having killed five people in a two-state murder spree.[1]

While on the run for five days the trio murdered five people after kidnapping then 11-year-old Trevor and nine-year-old Tonia Lasserre.[2]

During the 26-hour siege numerous shots were fired by the trio at NSW Police Tactical Operations Unit officers.[3][4] Leabeater killed himself the following day; Steele and Bassett surrendered to police, and Steele was later sentenced to five consecutive life sentences plus 12 years without parole; he hanged himself in prison on 23 December 1994.[5] Bassett was later sentenced to two consecutive life sentences with a non-parole period of 34 years for his part in the killings.[2]

The siege is also infamous for the actions of news reporters Mike Willesee, who was heavily criticised for telephoning the gunman and speaking with the children being held hostage whilst live on air[6][7] and Mike Munro, who with his news crew landed a helicopter close to the homestead despite an exclusion on such flights.[8]

The siege is also described at length by ex-Tactical Operations Unit officer William Dodson in his book, The Sharp End.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hanging Rock gunmen in court". The Independent. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "National – Live feed". News.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b [2]
  5. ^ "Captive audience". Theage.com.au. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Television's 10 Most Dramatic Moments". Virtualrugby.com.au. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "TV host put us in danger – Lasserres". Heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  8. ^ "Australian Story - This is His Life". Abc.net.au. 2003-09-29. Retrieved 2016-12-28. 

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