Russell Street bombing
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|Russell Street bombing|
Russell Street Police Headquarters
|Location||Russell Street Police Headquarters, Russell Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|Date||27 March 1986
1:00 pm (UTC+11)
|Deaths||1 (Constable Angela Taylor)|
|Perpetrators||Craig Minogue, Peter Reed, and Stan Taylor
Rodney Minogue was acquitted
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
The explosion was caused by a car bomb hidden in a stolen 1979 Holden Commodore. The blast seriously injured 21-year-old Constable Angela Taylor, who died on 20 April, becoming the first Australian policewoman to be killed in the line of duty. 22 other people were injured.
The explosion caused massive amounts of damage to the police HQ and surrounding buildings, estimated at more than A$1 million. A newspaper, The Age, reported that the blast had had such an impact because the open-floor design of the offices had acted like a Claymore mine, sending more shrapnel as the blast ripped through the floors, seemingly adding more pressure to the blast as it followed its path. In 1995, police headquarters moved to the Victoria Police Centre with the old headquarters many years later redeveloped into an apartment complex.
In the course of the investigation, a group of people including Craig Minogue, Rodney Minogue, Stan Taylor, and Peter Reed, were apprehended. The motive for the bombing seems to have been revenge against the police, as the bombers had previously been arrested and still resented their jail terms. In court, Taylor, Reed and Craig Minogue were convicted; Rodney Minogue was eventually acquitted on appeal.
On 7 October 1985, gelignite and detonators were stolen from the Tryconnel Mine at Blackwood. On 25 March 1986, a Holden Commodore was stolen. Both crimes were later found to provide equipment needed for the construction of the bomb.
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On 25 April 1986, ten Victoria Police officers raided the Kallista home of Peter Michael Reed at 5.45 am. It was alleged that upon attempting to enforce the arrest by forcing entry to the premises, Reed produced a .455 Smith & Wesson revolver and fired at police, seriously wounding Detective Sergeant Wylie. Reed was then fired upon by Det. Sgt. Quinsee and arrested.
Reed was charged with attempted murder, recklessly causing serious injury, using a firearm to prevent apprehension and possessing explosives in suspicious circumstances in addition to charges related to the Russell Street bombing. Reed later reportedly stated at his trial in unsworn evidence that "the police started the shooting and I only used his firearm in self defence."
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The Crown did not allege that any person played any particular role in the bombing, but that each of them were members of a team which planned the bombing and caused the bomb to explode. Evidence against the accused was as follows:
- Gelignite and detonators used in the construction of the bomb were of the same type as those stolen from a mine.
- Gelignite was found at Reed's house wrapped in newspaper containing fingerprints belonging to Rodney Minogue.
- Craig Minogue owned a pair of side cutters which produced cuts similar to those found on detonator wires.
- a file with traces of brass deposits matched with brass deposits found at the bomb site.
- a block of wood from which a wooden part of the bomb had been sawn was found at Craig Minogue's premises.
- tinned copper wire, similar to that used with detonators found at the bomb site, was found at Craig Minogue's premises.
- residue of gelignite matched residue found at a previous address of Craig Minogue in Lower Templestowe.
- evidence from a witness that Craig Minogue called around Easter 1986, to ask about the use of detonators.
- a witness testified that Craig Minogue was seen driving a 1979 Holden Commodore around the CBD prior to the explosion.
- Phoenix - a 13-part Australian police drama television series loosely based on the Russell Street bombing
- "Remembering the day Russell Street shook". The Age. 25 March 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
- Scars still felt 30 years after Russell Street bombing, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 24 March 2016
- The Russell Street bombing, slv.vic.gov.au; accessed 10 February 2016.