True Crime: 8 Gympie crims caught during police manhunts
TRUE CRIME: FROM a satanic "cleanse” killing to a violent stabbing in the Toolara Forest, Gympie has had its fair share of high profile crimes.
With the resources of hundreds of officers and week long manhunts, these men and women were found and brought to justice.
Hi-jacking of Cobb and Co in 1869
In January 1869, NSW bank manager Selwyn King was commended for taking on two bushrangers who tried to hi-jack the Cobb and Co carrying the Gympie mail.
Police believe the bushrangers had inside information that the departing banker would be carrying the "halves” of bank notes worth 2000 pounds, an enormous sum back then. It was common custom to cut the notes in half and to send them on successive days to beat the bushrangers.
Mr King was on the coach when two bushrangers, masked and armed, appeared from behind a big ironbark tree on the right hand side of the road.
They managed to stop the train.
A fight between the bushrangers and Mr King ensued, with Mr King retreating after shooting one of the bushrangers three times, severely injuring him.
The Nashville Times and Mary River Mining Gazette commended Mr King.
"There had been many cases in the colony where one bushranger had managed to rob a mail coach in the colony without any opposition on his own, but Selwyn King had stood up on his own, and unsupported, against two armed men, wounded one, and possibly both of them, and drove them off before they could have touched the mail bags,” it said.
An intense police manhunt led to the arrest of William Bond, who was convicted of having taken part in the raid and was sent to jail for 20 years.
Glenwood cold blooded murder in 1990s
Fast forward a century, and Glenwood killer Billy Fox remains locked up after shooting his former wife in the face and attempting to kill four other people, including his son, before hiding out in bushland for months in the 1990s.
It was early one crisp winter's morning in 1996 when 17-year-old Julia Cotter went outside to feed the dogs at her boyfriend Peter Fox's Glenwood house.
About 6.15am, she saw a balaclava-clad man approach her with a pump-action shotgun.
Julia screamed and tried to run inside but the gunman, Fox, shot her in the left shoulder from about a metre away.
Entering the house, the armed man bypassed one son hidden under a blanket on a couch but shot at his son Peter, who jumped through a glass window to escape.
Fox then shot his former wife Patricia in the face.
Court documents detailed how Fox attempted to remove evidence from the crime scene but he left a shotgun cartridge behind at Peter's house.
Fox threw his gathered cartridges out the car window as he drove away from the town.
A boy picked one up and took it to school for show and tell. It was then handed to police.
He's been fighting for release since 2015 saying "he is no longer a risk because he has reconciled with one of his victims.”
Fox is in Maryborough Correctional Centre, where he has been since 2009.
Dumped body in Toolara Forest in 2002
A MUTILATED body weighed down in a lagoon in the Toolara Forest in 2002 eventually led police to Glenwood wife killer Russell Stewart Henry Crump.
The body of Crump's defacto wife Erica Tomkinson was found in an isolated lagoon at the end of a dirt track in February 2002, weighed down by concrete blocks.
Later that day there was evidence he went to the Gunalda Hotel and tried to persuade people he had been there longer than he actually was.
He also told people his wife had left him and took money, 11 or 12 bottles of home brew and clothing.
A jury found him guilty of her murder in 2003.
Last year the Justice Department confirmed Crump had been granted parole and was no longer in custody.
Satanic "cleanse” killing at Wolvi in 1977
It was the worst crime scene Keith Smith saw in almost 33 years of policing.
A family torn apart, bludgeoned to death and shot, their bodies scattered around the house and fields.
By dawn on Monday, February 21, 1977, the now retired detective Inspector and Brisbane Homicide Squad investigator and colleagues were on the scene at a run down farmhouse at Wolvi, about 20km east of Gympie.
They'd received a call in the early hours of the morning.
Four people had been slain at the farmhouse.
Peter William Lamb, 37, had been found wandering down a dirt road by Gympie police responding to the call.
Lamb told officers he was "walking to the Lord”, before taking them back to the farmhouse.
Lamb, an extremely heavy marijuana user, believed he could save the world from evil and satanic forces.
He'd convinced his wife, Irene, that a visitor, New Zealander Lynette Gail Oakley, also known as Toni Olivia Lavetti, 26, was possessed by the devil.
Irene Lamb was missing by the time a crime scene had been established.
Irene Lamb evaded police for 10 days before she was found about 15km from the scene by two police officers camped out.
Lamb had confessed to the murders when he was picked up by Detective Sergeant Don Robinson and Detective Senior Constable Neil Magnussen.
Irene wrote a detailed, 11-page account of the killings and the days leading up to them.
She was a co-accused in the murders, but was never punished, after she was found to be of unsound mind at the time of the murders.
She spent years in a mental institution before being released into outside care.
Peter Lamb was charged with four counts of murder and had been in remand in the psychiatric section of Wacol Prison before he committed suicide in jail.
Tin Can Bay chase, 2018
On December 7, at about 5pm Tin Can Bay police received a number of calls about a man acting suspiciously in a vehicle and was last reported stopped in the middle of an intersection causing cars to drive around him.
A two day manhunt ensued. Police arrived and stopped behind the vehicle.
When they went to get out from the car the driver allegedly accelerated away and then turned into the carpark of the Tin Can Bay Marina, speeding through the marina carpark which was quite busy at the time.
The driver jumped out of the car wearing only boxer shorts and scaled the chain link fence, hotly pursued by officers who scaled the fence after him.
Both officers tracked him through mudflats in knee deep water for 200m, only to see him allegedly swim out to a houseboat and then jump into a small tender and motor away.
The following morning police received reports that a man was swimming across Snapper Creek and as locals watched his progress they kept police in the loop.
The alleged suspect driver entered a holiday unit reception area where he was apprehended by police. He offered no resistance and seemed happy for police to arrest him. He is due to face court at a later date.
2018 drug bust
TWO brothers wanted by New South Wales police for more than three months for allegedly operating two drug labs interstate were found in Gympie.
Twins Liam and Rhys Hoynes, 24, were found with a 30-year-old man at a Tamaree property late last year, where officers allegedly discovered another drug lab with a number of items, including chemicals.
They will face Gympie Magistrate's Court next week.
Mail train killer 1936
CENTRAL figure in one of Australia's most brutal murders, Herbert Kopit, 40, known as the "the mail train killer” eluded police in three states after stealing a tyre lever from a Gympie car and bludgeoning two people to death, and seriously injuring a third on a Bundaberg train in 1936.
The manhunt required hundreds of police officers in three different states to capture Kobit.
He was tracked down in Melbourne and jailed at Boggo Road prison where he died in 1951.
Prison escapees caught in 2016
A BEAUDESERT man and two other prisoners were caught near Gympie on December 31, 2016, after they escaped from a prison farm in Townsville.
Jacob Allen, 26, Claude Cobbo and Craig Jackson were arrested near Gympie at about 8.10pm on New Year's Eve, bringing an end to a dramatic 18-hour manhunt that stretched across 1200km and had local residents locking their doors.
They were charged with escaping lawful custody while Jackson was also charged with evading a fare, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and three counts of failure to stop a motor vehicle.