Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ex Cops at center of deathprobe as body surfaces

The Daily Telegraph, 27th May, 2014

WRAPPED in a tarp and floating in the sea off Cronulla, the body of murder victim Jamie Gao was found by a fisherman early yesterday. Several hours later, former police officer Glen McNamara faced court charged with his killing. 

As of last night, disgraced detective Roger Rogerson was still wanted for questioning over the death. Police will allege CCTV captured the pair walking into a storage unit with Mr Gao and leaving minutes later carrying a body in a bag. FORMER detectives Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara walked into a storage facility with young Asian student Jamie Gao — minutes later only two of them walked out carrying a body, police will allege Damning CCTV footage allegedly captured the two former officers carrying between them what appears to be the body of Mr Gao, wrapped in a blue tarpaulin. 

The whole sequence of events from Mr Gao’s meeting about an hour earlier when he allegedly got into a car with the two men on a Padstow street was filmed on CCTV at various businesses in the south-western Sydney suburb. 

Police will allege Mr Gao was killed in an alleged $3 million ice — methamphetamine — deal gone wrong. 

The two experienced former police officers are alleged to have used their own cars. It is claimed that Mr Gao’s body was put in McNamara’s white station wagon, which was followed by Rogerson in his silver Ford Falcon. 

McNamara, 55, was yesterday charged with murdering Mr Gao, 20, even though his body had not then been found. 

Almost at the same time as the arrest, fishermen found a body, believed to be that of Mr Gao, wrapped in a blue tarp with ropes and chains off Cronulla beach, the same suburb where McNamara lives with his wife and family. 

As McNamara appeared in Kogarah Local Court charged with murder and supplying 3kg of methamphetamine and was refused bail, two detectives with the Serious Crime and Robbery Squad flew to Brisbane to find Rogerson, 73, and arrest him on the same drug and murder charges. 

Rogerson, who was due to fly back to Sydney today, is believed to be staying with friends in Brisbane or on the Gold Coast, where he flew late last week for a speaking engagement. Rogerson’s solicitor Paul Kenny last night said he had made contact with police to arrange for his client to be questioned by them within 48 hours. 

A post-mortem on Mr Gao, a young Sydney University of Technology student, is expected to be conducted today. 

“He was in over his head. He thought he would make a quick buck,” a law enforcement source said yesterday. 

Detectives with the Serious Crime and Robbery Squad formed Strike Force Album and have been working around the clock since early Wednesday morning, following the report of Mr Gao’s disappearance on Tuesday afternoon.

Police will allege Mr Gao met with two young Asian men on Arab St, Padstow. 

The two Asian men have not been identified. 

Detective Superintendent Luke Moore said police believe Mr Gao was murdered near the Padstow meeting spot. 

“The purpose of the meeting we now strongly believe, and we will be putting to the court, was for a drug transaction (for) a substantial quantity of prohibited drug,” he said. 

Police have seized CCTV footage from Mick’s Meat on Arab St which shows Mr Gao getting out of his white Nissan Silvia sedan and getting into a white Ford  Falcon around 1.40pm, Tuesday. It shows him carrying a bag which police allege contained the ice. 

A silver Ford Falcon allegedly belonging to Rogerson, who was known during his lengthy police career as “The Dodger”, can be seen in a car park in the foreground. 

McNamara, a former Kings Cross detective who quit the force in 1990, was arrested at around 6.30pm on Sunday after his vehicle was stopped in Kyeemagh. 

At his home in Cronulla, police seized a blue Ford Falcon XR6 and a number of other “items of interest to investigators”, police said. 

McNamara’s white Ford Falcon station wagon was also seized as well as a boat allegedly belonging to him, which was being kept in a storage unit in Caringbah. 

Officers searched Rogerson’s home at Padstow Heights and took away a silver Ford Falcon station wagon. 

McNamara did not apply for bail during a short appearance before magistrate Christine Haskett in Kogarah Local Court yesterday. He was charged with murdering Jamie Gao between 1.40pm and 2.30pm in Padstow on May 20 and supplying 3kg of methamphetamine at the same time on the same date. He was not required to plea.  

Ms Haskett granted a request by McNamara’s lawyer that he be put in protective custody. McNamara smiled at a small group of supporters believed to be his family. Additional reporting by Ashlee Mullany and Ben McLellan.

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