Russell Street bombing

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Russell Street bombing
RussellStreetPoliceHQ.JPG
Russell Street Police Headquarters
LocationRussell Street Police Headquarters, Russell Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Coordinates37°48′29.85″S 144°57′58.19″E / 37.8082917°S 144.9661639°E / -37.8082917; 144.9661639
Date27 March 1986
1:00 pm (GMT+11)
Attack type
Car bomb
Deaths1 (Constable Angela Taylor)
Injuries
22
PerpetratorsCraig Minogue, and Stanley Brian Taylor
were convicted, Peter Reed and Rodney Minogue were acquitted

The Russell Street bombing was the 27 March 1986 bombing of the Russell Street Police Headquarters complex in Russell Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Explosion[edit]

A Holden Commodore, like the one used in the Russell Street bombing

The explosion was caused by a car bomb hidden in a stolen 1979 Holden Commodore. The explosion caused a massive amount of damage to the police station and surrounding buildings, estimated at more than A$1 million. The Melbourne newspaper The Age reported that the blast's impact was enhanced by the open-floor design of the offices, which had acted like a Claymore mine, sending more shrapnel as the blast ripped through the floors and adding more pressure to the blast as it followed its path. The blast seriously injured 21-year-old Police Constable Angela Taylor, who died on 20 April, becoming the first Australian policewoman to be killed in the line of duty.[1][2] 22 other people were injured.

Investigations[edit]

On 7 October 1985, gelignite and detonators were stolen from the Tyrconnel 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.[citation needed]

In the course of the investigation a group of people, including Craig Minogue, Rodney Minogue, Stanley Brian Taylor and Peter Reed, were apprehended. The motive for the bombing seems to have been revenge against the police[3].

Arrests[edit]

On 25 April 1986, ten Victoria Police officers raided the Kallista home of Peter Michael Reed at 5:45 a.m. 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 Mark Wylie. Reed was then fired upon by Det. Sgt. Quinsee, who was also wounded and arrested.

Trial[edit]

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 [my] firearm in self defence."

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.

At the end of a six month trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1988 before His Honour Justice Vincent, Taylor and Craig Minogue were convicted of murder and various other offences related to the bombing. Peter Reed and Rodney Minogue were acquitted of any offences related to the bombing but Reed was convicted of a number of offences related to his arrest, and was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

Taylor was sentenced to life imprisonment with no minimum term (ie never to be released), the first person in Victoria to be so sentenced. Taylor died in prison at the age of 79.[1] Craig Minogue was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 28 years. Although Minogue thus became eligible for parole in 2016, the Victorian Parliament has twice legislated to keep him in prison.[4] Minogue and Reed have both been recently charged with sexual assault offences that allegedly occurred just prior to the bombing.[5]

Aftermath[edit]

In 1995, police headquarters moved to the Victoria Police Centre with the old headquarters many years later redeveloped into an apartment complex.[citation needed]

Detective Sergeant Mark Wylie, who was shot by Peter Reed, later recovered from his wounds, but eventually left the police force; in July 2014, he died by suicide, aged 61.[6]

Media[edit]

  • Phoenix – a 1992–1993 13-part Australian police drama television series loosely based on the Russell Street bombing
  • The case was covered by Casefile True Crime Podcast on 2 and 9 July 2016.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Remembering the day Russell Street shook". The Age. 25 March 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
  2. ^ Scars still felt 30 years after Russell Street bombing, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 24 March 2016
  3. ^ The Russell Street bombing, slv.vic.gov.au; accessed 10 February 2016.
  4. ^ Cunningham, Melissa (23 July 2018). "New laws set to keep Russell Street bomber Craig Minogue behind bars for life". The Age. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  5. ^ Asher, Nicole; staff (23 May 2019). "Police charge Russell Street bomber over cold case gang rape". ABC News. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  6. ^ Silvester, John (19 July 2014). "Russell Street Bombing claims last victim". The Age. Retrieved 29 January 2018.

External links[edit]