Tough Nuts | Ray Bennett | The Criminal Mastermind | S1E7

– P2 is the best ride there. – I know, why wouldn’t you go on it? – Us three are going on it. – You have to. – Okay, I’ll watch, I’ll watch. – Well we’re not going there unless we’re going on the Big Dipper. – Okay, I’ll watch. (ominous music) (chattering) – We better get watching
TV before it starts. Come on. – Come on, over there, move it, against the wall! – What do you dogs want? – [Man] You, Les. – What, are you going to blow me away in front of a family? – Well it’s looking that way, Les. – Always knew you were a mug, Benny, but I never thought you’d sink this low. – You know you’re right Leslie. Never let it be said
I’m not a man of honor. Get in the dunny. Back in a moment, kids. – Please mate. – [Ray] Hope the misses
has a good cleaner, Les. (gun rapidly firing) (glass shattering) (ominous music) – [Tara] Meet Ray Chuck Bennett, bank robber, criminal mastermind, organizer of the Great
Bookie Robbery, and murderer. – Your daddy was a very bad man. (heavy rock music) – Welcome to Tough Nuts,
Australia’s Hardest Criminals. I’m Tara Moss. Ray Chuck Bennett was an
extraordinary criminal figure. He planned and pulled
off the greatest heist in Australian history, the
1976 Great Bookie Robbery, netting Bennett and his crew
over four million dollars, equivalent to about 50 million
dollars in today’s money. Despite his dash and daring, he was also a vicious thug
and cold blooded killer. Bennett and his gangs
terrorized the population on two continents, robbing
them at the point of a gun. Through dramatized scenes,
first-hand accounts, and psychological analysis
of Bennett’s life, Tough Nuts will give a detailed portrait of a man described as Australia’s greatest criminal mastermind. – He was the last of the great
armed robbers in Australia. There was Ned Kelley, there was Ray Chuck, and that was that. – He was probably the most
dashing crim of his generation, and certainly one that
he was feared and admired generally by police and villains alike, so he was a force to be reckoned with. – Your daddy was a very bad man. – He said, “In my time,
the time of my making, “and the place where I
want to, I’m going to blow “your fucking head off.” – I want my face to be
the last thing you see before you die. – Ray Bennett was a ferocious customer. Ray Bennett was very very intelligent. He was also extremely vicious, so he was essentially unstoppable. – Ray Chuck Bennett was a
painter and docker in Melbourne. He had a history of
violence and armed robbery, but he was no ordinary bandit. His daring raids made him
something of a cult hero in the criminal world. His robberies were planned
with military precision. He trained his crews for weeks in advance. Failure was not an option for Bennett. – Ray Bennett was a ferocious customer, so he was very willing. Ray Bennett was very very intelligent, so when it came to a complex robbery, like the Great Bookie Robbery, he could find a way. – Well Ray Bennett grew
up in the inner west. He was, you know, a petty crim really. I mean he was a painter and docker. He got on those sort of gravy trains down there at the docks. I mean he graduated
from fairly petty crime up to, you know, armed
robbery and so forth. He was probably the most dashing crim of his generation, and
certainly one that he was feared and admired generally
by police and villains alike, so he was a force to be reckoned with. – He was very good at armed robbery ’cause he used to study, he
used to read books about it, and he was fascinated
in the life and times of Blackhall Willie Sutton. This Willie Sutton was
America’s greatest bank robber. He studied the life of Ned Kelly, he studied the life of all the famous bank robbers of history. – Ray Bennett was probably Australia’s greatest armed robber. He’s up against some
fairly illustrious company like Russell Cox, Ian Carroll, Normie Lee, Neddy Smith, but Ray Bennett was one who could find a way
where others couldn’t. – [Tara] The Great Bookie Robbery on April 21, 1976 was the biggest raid in Australia’s history. After Bennett and his gang got away with over four million dollars, the standover men of the world came looking for their cut. They came with blowtorches
and bolt cutters, ready to torture
information out of the gang. It was the Kane brothers who got the closest to the cash. Les and Brian Kane believed
the proceeds of the robbery were theirs for the taking, but they hadn’t counted on how ruthless Ray Bennett could be. – You know, all this fuss
about the bloody Kane brothers. It makes me sick. I mean, Les Kane, he was a psychopath. He’d kill you with a knife or a gun, but if you weren’t watching, he’d hit you from behind. – Yeah, he was a terrible piece of shit. He had no compunction about doing anything to anybody, but he didn’t
have the same nonce as Chuck. – He wasn’t an armed robber, he didn’t take the risks
that Bennett had taken, and he just simply wanted his whack of the Great Bookie Robbery. He figured he’s just go up and essentially ask for the money. – Well Les Kane was putting a
lot of pressure on Ray Chuck, and then they threatened to
come after Ray Chuck’s family. And he took shots at Ray Chuck, and so Ray Chuck says “if
you want to play that game, “I’ll play it on you.” – Bennett really felt that
he wanted to show the Kanes a real lesson in this case, not even give them the respect of adhering to the well-established underworld lines. – [Tara] The lesson would
be handed out swiftly and brutally to the Kanes
and all the toecutters and standover men, and the lesson was mess with Ray Bennett, and you’re dead. – There were a couple
different versions of this, that the gang had actually infiltrated into Kane’s house, they had
watched Les Kane come in and leapt out, grabbed him, and shot him with several automatic
weapons in his own bathroom. (gun rapidly firing) His wife and kids were
on hand at the time. They bundled his body into
the back of his own pink Ford, and Les nor the car were ever seen again. – [Newscaster] Police say Leslie Kane, a former painter and docker, was murdered in his one turner home, but his body was never found. Three men were charged
with Leslie Kane’s murder, Laurence Prendergast, Vincent Mikkleson, and this man Raymond Chuck Bennett, all were acquitted. – It wasn’t that brutal,
you know, big deal. I mean Les Kane would’ve done it to them. He would’ve shot them in
front of their wife and kids. He would’ve shot their
kids first, you know, he was an animal, Les Kane. – [Tara] Forensic
psychologist Stephen Barron believes that the murder of Kane was a piece of deliberate brutality designed to enhance Bennett’s reputation and ward off any others who
wanted a piece of the action. – Killing Kane would send a message. Killing Kane in front
of his family would’ve dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s. It means that I’m not
afraid to butcher you in front of your loved ones. In other words, I’m
likely to leave your death as a legacy to your wife and kids. – Back in a moment, kids. – Because the grief then is
not about the person dying, the grief then is shared by everyone else who is part of that person’s family. The grief goes on for years
and years across generations. – It’s not just, no, Les Kane
has got to be dealt with, it’s all the people that
are involved with Les Kane. People have gotta know that
this will go all the way, and the easiest way to do it is to make it look as ugly as possible, so that people get the message real fast. (gun rapidly firing) – Ray Bennett, the architect
of Australia’s biggest heist, was also a cold-blooded killer. The murder of Les Kane in
front of his wife and children in Kane’s home sent a message
to the criminal underworld. You mess with Ray Chuck
Bennett at your peril. When we return, we look at
Ray Bennett’s childhood years and his passage to Melbourne’s docks, the training ground for
a criminal mastermind. – Why the fuck didn’t you check to see if the card was punched? – Freddy, Les Kane told me he saw ya. – What the fuck you listening to him for? – Welcome back to Tough Nuts, Australia’s Hardest Criminals, and Ray Bennett, the criminal mastermind. Raymond Patrick Bennett was
born in 1949 in Melbourne. His father Patrick was a factory worker, and the family struggled
to make ends meet. His mother, Dorothy or
Dot, was a loving mother who always managed to
put food on the table despite the family’s difficult
financial circumstances. Ray Bennett was the eldest child. He had two sisters about
whom little is known. Bennett grew up in rented houses in Melbourne’s western suburbs. On several occasions,
the family faced eviction when his father found himself out of work. Bennett’s uncle often came to the rescue. He was a painter and
docker, and at one point, was the quartermaster
sergeant of the union. Bennett’s uncle would
lend the family money from time to time to get
them back on their feet. – This cycle occurred a number of times in Ray Bennett’s life
when he would find himself basically on the streets that made him, according to Gail, a person
who liked to have everything in one place, so when he
had his home in Footscray as an adult, he was absolutely sure that his wife and children
would be safe there, so they would never have to go through what he went through as a kid. – At that age, he’s gotta
be looking at other kids and seeing what other kids are able to do, and there’s going to be a sense of not being able to bring his mates home, the impermanence is going to create some difficulty with him
forming, close friendships, there will be a sense of
what’s different about us, so they become, to a
certain extent, clannish, relying on each other, focused inward rather than outward. – [Tara] At the age of 14, Bennett’s uncle got him a job on Melbourne’s docks. The work was unrelenting and the pay poor, but for many, especially
those with criminal records, it was the only work available. – They’d get out of the boys’ homes, they’d get a job. If the factory they
were in got broken into, the first thing police do is ask for a list of employees, they go back and check the names against
criminal convictions, they go back to the boss thinking that our shithead
had a criminal conviction for break and enters, the boss comes down, right, you’re sacked. And so after a period of time, the only place that these people could go to get employment is at
the Painters and Dockers. They can’t go anywhere else because nowhere else will employ them. – Being in the Painters and
Dockers Union at that age would’ve been very influential because he’d have been mixing with people who were engaging in
organized structured crime, people who were engaging in crimes that would sell newspapers because it seemed to be so violent and so excessive. He would’ve been very strongly influenced by the environment of being in a group of adults who
could do what they wanted to, take what they wanted, and
smuggle whole containers off the docks. – As a 14 year old working
on Melbourne’s docks, Ray Bennett suddenly found himself in the company of Melbourne’s most significant criminal figures. The Painters and Dockers
Union was the gateway to crime in Melbourne. Some of the dockees
were into drug dealing, armed robberies, extortion rackets, hijacking, and even murder. Rival groups shot and murdered each other for control of the union. Whoever ran the union
ran crime in Melbourne. One of the Dockees’ scams was ghosting, the practice of collecting pay packets for men who haven’t worked on the docks. It’s been alleged that at
the height of ghosting, there were up to twice as many pays as there were actual dock workers. An up and comer, Ray
Bennett learned the ropes, including having to clock
on for some senior members of the Painters and Dockers Union, so they’d be paid for work they didn’t do. (ominous music) (fog horn blowing) – Oy, did you see Freddy punching on? – Uh yeah. Yeah, he was in early. – Fucking bullshit, you lying prick. What’s he doing here? – No bull, Chuck. I got no idea, but I definitely saw him. He said good day and everything. – Righto. – Come on. Let’s go over to Fleming’s. – Alright. (thudding) – Why the fuck didn’t you check to see if the card was punched? – Freddy, Les Kane told me he saw ya. – What the fuck you listening to him for? – It’s the last time I do. – Two right of these, mate. Two right of these. Two righties. Two fucking rights. (thudding) (thudding) – [Newscaster] The union has
long been accused of ghosting. Ghosting in waterfront language means collecting pay packets for men who haven’t worked. According to the bulletin, there are twice as many pay packets as painters and dockers. – Of the 300 members of
Painters and Dockers, these guys pay packets. They got whacked out amongst
about probably 60 dockees, the ones at the top and
the ones that are related to the ones at the top
and the ones near the top. The other blokes were
left painting the ships. (laughing) Didn’t ever look at a guy’s pay packet. – There were a lot of good
blokes working on the dock. There were a lot of blokes
who’ve never been in trouble, a lot blokes that could
have written good books were terrified to say anything. They saw nothing. They saw murders and all kinds of violence and whack up of money
and jewelry and that, but you could never get
them to open their mouth. They weren’t bad blokes. They’re just surviving
because they are fellas that came through the depression,
no education, no hope. – [Tara] Forensic
psychologist Chris Lennings believes the Painters and Dockers provided the training ground
for Bennett’s criminal career. – You got a bloke who may not have a lot, he’s getting more. There’s a certain amount of attractiveness being associated with these heavy dudes, so you’re gradually being pulled into, being inculcated into
an underworld system, and particularly in the
Painters and Dockers back then, that was kind of a whole culture, so you’re starting to go up
the rungs in terms of status, and that could be, you
know, very attractive to a young person. – I think he would probably seen himself as being an apprentice in the same way as an apprentice plumber. He’s working with people who have a skill, a trade, it’s a desirable skill and trade because there’s a financial reward as well as social rewards. On first day, he’s making
cups of coffee for the boys or getting their lunches. At the end of the first year, he would’ve moved up to the first tier. At the end of three years
in that environment, he would’ve seen himself as being able to graduate into the
same kind of structures that the adults lived in. – What the fuck you listening to him for? – It’s the last time I do. – Two right of these, mate. Two right of these. Two right of these. Two fucking right. (thudding) – Bennett’s time on the docks exposed him to some of Melbourne’s most notorious criminals. He developed the skills and contacts to get him started in a life of crime. Bennett’s reputation grew. Even on the docks, his
steely glare was noted. By the age of 17, he was
known to carry a gun, and he was not afraid to use it. If the Painters and Dockers Union was a criminal training ground, Bennett was fast tracked
to a master class. When we return, we detail his association with the infamous Kangaroo Gang. – I’m a counter jumper. I like it on my own. – Yeah, but you know with us behind you, there’s a lot more opportunities. (rock music) – Welcome back to Tough Nuts,
Australia’s Hardest Criminals, and Ray Chuck Bennett,
the criminal mastermind. It was not long before Bennett
caught the eye of the police. By the age of 19 he already
had convictions for stealing. His progression as a criminal continued and his crimes went from petty offenses, such as house break-ins and
receiving stolen property, to safe breaking and major thefts. At this time he met Gail Petry. Bennett and Petry married. She was just 17 years of age
and he had just turned 20. But she was happy to turn a blind eye to his late nights out. She knew he was no philanderer. He came home with money
and she knew better than to ask where it came from. – When a woman marries a man
who is a serious criminal, it’s often the way that they
would prefer not to know. In Gail’s circumstance, it
only became known to her after they married. So there’s love there and
there’s this very strong bond. And really under those circumstances she’s not going to judge
her husabnd for what he does from that point. So she talks about a
household that could go for weeks on end without
having any real money coming in and then there’d be just tons of money. There was this sense of famine to feast to famine to feast, but she very much took the policy of don’t ask don’t tell, I don’t wanna know. – [Tara] Ray Bennett was
first and foremost a criminal. He understood that from an early age, but he wanted to be more than
an everyday street crook. If he was going to be a criminal, he wanted to be the best. – I’d say at 14 to 15 years of age and from then on Ray Bennett decided to be the most probably, in his own way he was a mastermind criminal. He was frightened of nothing. He knew more than the old
blokes that had schooled him. And as far as he was
concerned he was number one. And a lot of blokes that worked for him, worked with him and admired
him believe that he was. – It’s a natural school
being a bank robber. You’ve gotta have a natural you just gotta have a natural ability to be able to do that, to put together a group of six men and say “righty oh” and lead ’em into a position where all six
men are carrying guns and you say “righty, someone
has to watch the door “someone has to watch the cameras, “someone’s to stand outside, stand inside, “blah, blah, blah, get the money, “throw it in the bag. “Out. “And we’ve got 90 seconds
to do it in,” you know. – Well he started taking on banks and armored cars and safes
and all this kind of stuff. So he wasn’t frightened to
point a gun at somebody, he wasn’t frightened to kill, he wasn’t frightened of police, in fact, one of the toughest
detectives of his generation, Brian Murphy said that Ray
Chuck Bennett was the only one he actually feared. – He’s most probably the only
bloke I’ve ever worried about. I’ve given, when I say
worried, I gave a great deal of respect in relation
to what he said to me. And I was aware that he’d
be capable of carrying whatever threat he made out. – Like many criminals, Ray
Bennett kept his family life and his criminal activities separate. His wife Gail was aware
of the growing reputation her husband had in the
Painters and Docker’s Union, but he never spoke of his crimes. Gail often lay awake at night,
wondering if her husband would come home or if he’s
been caught in the crossfire of a bloody feud. She was relieved when
Bennett told her he wanted to travel to England. Bennett fled to avoid
becoming victim of the carnage within the Painter’s and Docker’s Union, but, he had another motive. He planned to travel to
England and refine his skills as an armed robber. To advance his criminal training,
Bennett headed to Europe and hooked up with Patrick Jack Warren and Brian O’Callaghan of
the infamous Kangaroo Gang. A group of brazen crooks
who smashed and grabbed their way across Europe, but Bennett wasn’t really
interested in shoplifting. He had bigger plans. – You’re a good crook Jack. I’d like you to get a bit more involved. – I’m just not a shoplifter Patrick. I’m a counter jumper. I like it on my own. – Yeah, but you know, with us behind ya, there’s a lot more opportunities. – No, okay, I don’t do smash and grab. – Well, you’re gonna have to
go back home, or the States. You certainly can’t work here. – Straight back to ‘Aus mate? Too many rozzers with nasty
hardware in the States. – Got a plan? – Maybe. – You’re not still talking
about Victoria Club? – Maybe. – It’s a fuckin’ pipe dream. Every decent crook since
Ned Kelly has been thinking about that, no way. – Yeah, you’re probably right. – It’s a dead set pinch,
you’ll do ten years on the roof just fuckin’ thinking about it. (laughing) You think you can pull
this off, don’t you? – Maybe. – Do tell, Raymond. – Like you’d tell me. (laughing) It’s nothin’ personal mate. – I know. – Just need one more pull here,
get a little kitty together before I go home. – Well, there is that bank in
Ipswich we’ve been eyeing off if you’d like the boys to give ya a hand you have my blessing. – Blessing? What are you the fuckin’ pope now? (laughing) – I wouldn’t go getting on
my knees around here Chuck. Remember where you are.
(laughing) People might think there’s
something else going on. – The Kangaroo gang was a
group of thieves who operated in Europe. They were older men, but they
were essentially shoplifters and they would routinely go
around Europe and England, helping themselves to the
goodies from retail stores, department stores and fill container loads and smuggle them back to
Australia where these items would be resold through
various retail outlets. – Most of them were wanted
here over other jobs that they’d done, shoplifting
sprees that they’d been on, break-ins, not a great deal of violence and most of them didn’t revert to violence when they when they were over there. – He went over there to hone
his band robbery skills, cause he said to me, he said,
“hired robbers in England,” he said, “they jump out of
the vans with baseball bats “and wooden battens and the
people in the payroll vans, “they jump out with baseball
bats and wooden battens, “they’re having pitch
battles in the street “with truncheons and
the people in the vans, “they’re wearing helmets
and the armed robbers “are wearing helmets, you
know, and bashing each other “with truncheons, no guns mentioned.” He said, “they, it’s ridiculous.” I think he was the first bloke
in England to ever use a gun in a payroll, you know, he
did a payroll over there and he used a gun, used
a sawed off shotgun. It was great, great panic
in the streets over that. – Forensic psychologist Steven
Barron sees Bennett’s time in England as his graduation
from small time crook to the criminal mastermind
who could plan and execute complex crimes, like the
Great Bookie Robbery. – He would’ve had his
apprenticeship in Australia, he would’ve graduated, he
would have gone to the UK, he would’ve been taken in to these groups because of his Australian background, certainly because of his
Painter and Docker connections, they would have seen him
as being trustworthy, he wouldn’t have dobbed
then into the police, he spoke the same kind of language, he had the same kind of mannerisms, he would’ve had the same
kind of value systems and because he was Australian he would’ve been a welcome addition to any Australian based
crime gang in the UK. – You’re a good crook Jack. I’d like ya to get a bit more involved. – When he’s there, I would
imagine he sees himself as going into a certain
specialized role with people who had a particular
niche market in crime. In the same way that a
mechanic goes from working on Holden’s and Fords and moves
into working on Alpha Romeos and Subarus, it’s simply
another level of expertise, and certainly some of
it adds to the status, it would look good on his CV. – Bennett returned to
Australia a different criminal. He was smarter and more dangerous. When we return, the feud between Bennett and police officer Brian Murphy explodes. – I want my face to be
the last thing you see before you die. (rock music) – Welcome back to Tough Nuts,
Australia’s hardest criminals, and Ray Chuck Bennett
the criminal mastermind. Bennett arrived back into Australia, into the loving arms of his wife Gail. Gail had given Ray two sons,
but with him skylarking across Europe, he’d been an
absentee father and husband. He promised her that all
that was going to change, but deep down she could not believe it. – What happens with the
partners in these relationships, is that they’ve gotta lot
of things to consider. Firstly the fact is that their partner’s
involved with associates, there’s a lot of force
involved in what they do, there’s potential for violence. They need to believe that
their partner can protect them. – It was a terrifying time
whenever he was arrested and he was arrested on a
number of occasions, you know, was sent to jail on a number of occasions. But she always maintained
that whenever she got the opportunity to talk to her husband, even while he was in custody,
he would make her feel that everything was going to be all right, that he had a solution
and that he would fix it. – And I think that at sometimes these guys also produce an enormous
aura of confidence, they produce an aura of protectiveness, they make the other person feel that no matter what goes
down, they will be safe, they will be protected. – [Tara] Ray Chuck Bennett promised Gail he would always protect the family. This promise led to a
dangerous vendetta when Bennett finally crossed paths with Brian Murphy. – Bennett and I met in late the ’70’s, we had a considerable amount of property stolen from Palermo leather goods. We were given the job to
go out and investigate it. We worked ’round the
clock for a couple of days and eventually led us
to Chuck Bennett’s house and myself and two crews
of detectives went there, we gained admittance
through an open front door, Mrs. Bennett was in the
bedroom, I spoke with her, quite a pleasant lady and
little did I know that as a result of being
present, I was going to be, had allegations against me about the way I treated her baby. – [Tara] Murphy had done nothing wrong, he had merely picked
up Bennett’s infant son and passed him to Gail, but
Ray Bennett believed the child had been manhandled and his
response was instinctive, kill Murphy. – That Friday night, myself
and several other detectives went over to have a
pizza in West Melbourne, we were met by Bennett
and another friend of his and Bennett and I had the conversation, “are you still throwing little
babies across bedrooms?” And I said, “I don’t know
what you’re talking about.” He says, “you fuckin’ do
know what I’m talkin’ about.” I said, “well if you think that, “you can get fucked
because I haven’t done it.” One word led to another and
he and his mate took off, I got my friend, my
mate, who worked with me to go Russell street and
get our guns because I knew that one way or another,
something was going to happen. – [Tara] Murphy’s instincts were right. A few minutes later, Bennett
returned with a loaded shotgun. Murphy feared for his
life and two days later Bennett repeated his threat to kill Murphy during an interview
about the confrontation at Victoria Police Headquarters. – When I was going through the interview he said, “I’m gonna tell you something,” he said, “at my time, the time
of my making and the place “where I want to, I’m gonna
blow your fuckin’ head off, “you’re nothing but a cunt and that’s it.” I said, “well fair enough,”
I said, “let’s start it now.” He said “no, it’ll be
when I’m fuckin’ ready.” – A slight against
Bennett’s family was enough to start a lifelong feud
between the two men. Every time they met, the threat
of violence was in the air, even the threat of death. (laughing) – So he goes upstairs right, and this prick tried to tell me, “you blokes smell somethin’?” The unmistakable odor of pig shit. (laughing) – That’s pretty funny
Bennett, all right boys, you know the drum, up against
the wall, let’s have ya, I said, “let’s have ya,” now. Got somethin’ to say to me shitbag? (smacking) Well boys, look at this
pile of shit, all dressed up like post office clerks,
let’s pat em down. (dramatic music) You look like a poofter
in that jacket, Ray, must have spent too long
in jail, takin’ up the ass, gotta taste for it, have ya? Like to have a piece of me, would ya? – I’d love one Brian. – Do you hear that Terry? Ray Chuck here just
threatened a police officer. You armed shitbag? – Not until you plant one of me. – You disappointment Ray. – You’ll get yours. – [Brian] Yeah, – Not now, not yet, I
wanna look you in the eye, I want my face to be the last
thing you see before you die. – You’re are all piss and wind Bennett. Righto boys, stay safe. – You’re a dead man, Murphy. (smooching) – Fuckin’ poofter. – [Tara] The criminal grapevine
buzzed with many rumors about the confrontation
in the Rising Sun Hotel, but Murphy states that
he did not produce a gun and it was he who was in fear
of being killed by Bennett. (glass shattering) – Where was I? (laughing) – Myself and two other or
three other teams of consorters we used to just lob on the hotels, to see who is in there drinking. Consorting reports would
be made out for them and it was just a way of
placing where criminals were drinking, who they were mixing with and what kind of crimes
they would be cooking up. We hit the Rising Sun Hotel at the corner of Melbourne
Street and Swan Street – It had been the first time that Brian Murphy had seen Ray Bennett for some time and it
quickly became obvious to Murphy that the blood feud of Bennett’s instigation
was still in place. – And I said, “Ray, what’s
your date of birth?” He said, “you get fucked. “I’m gonna tell ya now I’m
gonna fuckin’ kill you,” and I said “whatever you
do, don’t say it in front “of any of these cunts
here because one of them “will give you up for what you just said.” – He knew that Bennett and
his associates were armed, never the less, the hard
police officer put these guys up against the wall. – “Got somethin’ to say to me shitbag?” – And so I started taking the
names and he held us back, pushed his foot up and
stopped me from being able to walk away from the group, and I says, “you get your
fuckin’ foot down from there “otherwise you’re gonna regret
it for the rest of your life” and Chuck said, “let him go.’ – And he decided that
discretion was the better part of valor and he should leave the premises. When he went out there a
number other police joined him and some of his colleagues
suggested that they get the guns out of the boot. – One of the blokes
opened the boot of the car and he grabbed the shotgun
and given it to me, he said “we’ll go an’ give it to ’em,” I said, “mate, if we go in
there and give it to them, “there’ll be a million witnesses
that weren’t even there.” I said, “but if they give it to us, “there’d be no witnesses.” And the next time I saw
Chuck was at the undertakers. – [Tara] Forensic psychologist
Chris Lennings believed Bennett could never let go
of the feud because he felt Murphy had crossed the
line with his family. – What’s happened is that you
have a kind of a us and them, you drew the line in the sand and you say, “that my family are to be protected, “that’s part of the deal,
I will protect my family.” There’s that sense of,
you can’t do this to me, this is entitlement that
comes with being who he is, it’s this entitlement that
comes with being a fairly serious name in the business
and so you get pretty cranky, angry well beyond the normal response. – You’re a dead man Murphy. – [Chris] Because there
has been a genuine sense, an invasion, of who he is
and what he’s been able to promise he can do. – The two had walked away
from many confrontations that had nearly ended in gunfire, but two alpha males
like Bennett and Murphy, there was always going to be
one final act to be played out. Coming up next, Ray
Bennett assembles his team for the robbery that would
turn him into a legend of Australian crime. (rock music) (patting) – Easy tiger, you and
I are gonna be friends. Let’s take a walk. (rock music) – Welcome back to Tough Nuts,
Australia’s hardest criminals and Ray Chuck Bennett,
the criminal mastermind. Ray Bennett put his crew together for the Great Bookie Robbery. The crew included Norman
Chops Lee, Laurie Prendergast, Vinnie Mikkelsen, Ian
Carroll and Tony Mcnamara. All career armed robbers like Bennett. Individually they were
good at what they did, but with Bennett as their leader they would all soon make history. Bennett organized military
style like training for himself and the members of his crew. The preparation took weeks. Bennett was always extremely
fit and he wanted his team ready for the raid of a lifetime. – Right men are assembled,
the most experienced, the most reliable armed
robbers that he could find, that he could summon. Really, he scanned the state. – Some of the men involved
in the Bookie Robbery were some of the most willing and most, probably some of the
most intelligent people that have been known as criminals in the state of Victoria. – The Great Bookie Robbery
was meticulously planned. Bennett has scoped the
place, had wandered around in the Victoria Club, looked
at the how this could be done. – He studied it and looked at it, now he went up the back stairs and he went up to see, he
went to the Victoria Club and had a look and he cased the joint out, and he said, “this is not
impossible, this is easy.” – And so it was Ray Bennett’s job, he considered it important to have the people that worked for him fighting fit by the time they
got into perform the robbery. So they did firearms
training, fitness training and basically skill and drill
work on what was required to perform the Great Bookie Robbery. – Months of planning had come to fruition. Six men struck at the
Victorian Racing Club and stole the bookie’s money
on Tuesday, April 21st, 1976. It was the day after Easter holidays, there had been two race
meetings in Melbourne over the long weekend and the bookies were carrying
a lot more cash then usual. (background chattering) (laughing) (tense music) (background chattering) (patting) – Easy tiger, you and
I are gonna be friends. Let’s take a walk. (banging)
Get on the fuckin’ floor. That means you too Ambrose. Wanna get your heads down on the ground. – [Man] Heads on the ground. – [Man] Keep your heads under the table. (thudding) – Brown shirt show us your fuckin’ hands. Right, anyone moves I’ll
blow you fuckin’ head off. – Let’s go, let’s go. – Keep your heads down. – Let’s go, let’s go. Let’s go. (suspenseful music) – Tonight an Australia
wild hunt is continuing for the Victoria Club bandits,
so far without success. Official estimates still
put the haul at $1,500,000, but there are many in Melbourne that now say the figure could
be as high as $5,000,000. – On the day of the robbery, the men waited, Bella
Clabbard, Edward Dunce, and waited for the armored van to arrive with all the bookie bags containing cash. When those bags were brought upstairs the bookie robbers
kicked through the door. – Get on the fuckin’ floor! That means you too Ambrose. – Pointed their guns around. One of the men left the second floor and secured the front
door of the building. – Easy tiger, you and
I are gonna be friends. – Once they had the cash they actually took it
upstairs to an office that they had leased and kept the money and the guns there and they didn’t go back for it and get their money for a month. From the point they simply
walked out through the front door and all six men joined up later that day for lunch in a pub in south Melbourne to celebrate their success. (laughing) (chattering) – [Tara] Estimates very on
just how much Ray Bennett and his accomplices took from
the Great Bookie Robbery. Some believe it was as
much as $12,000,000. – It is known that Norman Lee
was found with $40,000 on him, he was ultimately charged
with the Great Bookie Robbery, the only man to be charged
with it and he was acquitted so that’s $40,000 that was located. – Well they said $6,000,000,
but it may be double that because the bookies of
course don’t want to say what they really took that day for fear of paying taxes, they’d still be liable for the tax even if the money was stolen so people settle on a
figure of about $6,000,000. – [Tara] It was nearly the perfect crime, there was only one hitch, one of the gang gave himself away. – Of the two men that spoke, one was Ray and the other man said to the bookies and others in the room, “get
down, everybody get down.” – Get on the fuckin’ floor! That means you too Ambrose. – So Ambrose put his head back down and Ambrose Palmer said
to some people afterwards, he said, “that was Tony Mcnamara “that told me to put my
head back down,” he said, “I recognize Veggie’s voice anywhere,” ’cause he’s known Tony Mcnamara since he was about 14, 15 years old. – And though he didn’t police, he did tell the Kanes and
that set off a chain reaction. – Philip Doncusee successfully defended the only man ever charged
over the Great Bookie Robbery, Norman Normie Lee. After Lee was acquitted he told his barrister details
of the elaborate robbery. – And their troubles only began once the robbery was finished because then the gang of
criminals from Sidney, the Toe Cutters came
down and were after them, and not just their toes. – You had people like the
Toe Cutters in Sydney, were snooping around
and this what’s alleged about Brian Kane and his brother, they were trying to put pressure on the western suburbs villains and get a part of the action
and when they were told, “to go fuck themselves,” and
this is how the Brian Kane, and Les Kane episodes evolved after that. – Les and Brian Kane made their living scaring other gangsters out
of their criminal assets and they wanted part of Bennett’s cash. We know what Bennett did to Les Kane, he took a preemptive strike
and eliminated the threat, but there was still Brian to worry about. When we return Bennett’s
feud with the Kanes ends in a bloody confrontation
in a Melbourne courthouse. – I need a quick talk with the prosecutor so you blokes wait down here with him, we’ll let you know when he’s needed. He won’t give you any
trouble, will you Chuck? – Welcome back to Tough
Nuts and the life and crimes of Australia’s criminal
mastermind, Ray Chuck Bennett. The Great Bookie Robbery
had almost gone too well, the problem for Bennett
and his accomplices was what to do with all the money. Gail rarely saw her husband
in the wake of the robbery. After Les Kane was
murdered in October 1978 Bennett went into hiding and
stayed clear of the family home for the safety of his wife and children. The police were closing in, Bennett, Mikkleson and Prendergast were charged with the murder
of Les Kane in December 1978. – Ray Bennett and two other men were charged with the murder of Les Kane. All three were acquitted at trial, the other two men went into hiding, released onto the streets, but Ray Bennett had an outstanding matter, an armed payroll and he was taken in directly into custody and he was remanded. – Yeah he was in H Division and the Kane’s had all
their people down there plotting and planning to stick
knives in him in H Division and that’s why he was pleased that I went in the yard with him, because when I went in the yard with ya you were as sweet as a
bum, I ran H Division, let’s not beat around the
bush, I ran H Division, for 10 and a half years I ran the place. – Bennett thought he
would be safer in jail than on the outside,
he knew that Brian Kane would retaliate for the
murder of his brother. Bennett knew the reprisal would come, but who could have expected an attack in a busy courthouse in Melbourne. – Right well, okay I need a chat with the prosecutor so you blokes wait down here with him, we’ll let you know when he’s needed. He won’t give you any
trouble, will you Chuck? Back in a thrice. (tense music) Good morning. – This is for you Ray! (gun firing) (screaming) (gurgling) – [Newscaster] Raymond Patrick
Bennett was gunned down in the corridors of the courthouse as he was being led to the 10th Court to face armed robbery charges. The killer stood at the
top of a flight of stairs and fired three shots, hitting Bennett twice in the
chest and in one of his hands. As the killer calmly turned
and went down the back stairs of the court Bennett reeled backwards and ran into a courtyard where he collapsed in a pool of blood. The police officers escorting him, after being warned by
the killer not to follow chased Bennett believing
he was trying to escape. – [Tara] Due to their long running feud suspicion for the
shooting immediately fell on detective Brian Murphy. – The previous Sunday I’d
been to Carlton with my wife and one of my daughters
for the Italian Festival and we were about to go into low-al-bow which was a cafe up there
and a blokes come out, and put his head down and just kept going, and I said to my wife, I
said, “that’s Brian Kane, “he’s wearing the same cap as I’ve got.” Anybody can wear them but
he looked more like me and how later on a photo
of it was done by witnesses and one of the was sent to me
with, “I wonder who this is?” Pretty much intimating
that I was the bloke that shot Chuck in the court
and have a look at this. I did nothing about it,
couldn’t have cared less, I knew where I was and what I had done, but a lot of policemen, most probably thought
that I was behind it. – The shooter was almost
undoubtedly Brian Kane, there’s virtually no one
that disputes that anymore, but the murdered, Brian Kane most likely, was dressed like a solicitor, he was carrying a briefcase, he was wearing a beard at the time, he was wearing gold rimmed
glasses, nicely dressed, waiting for Ray Chuck Bennett to make his appearance that morning. He was the last person
anyone would have suspected. There’s no doubt that
he’d been well schooled on the layout of the Magistrates Court. He knew where he had to
go and how to get away. (gun firing) – There is no doubt that Brian
Kane murdered Ray Bennett. There is some speculation that Brian Kane received assistance from corrupt police in
order to leave the scene as quickly as he did and not be captured. – Now there are allegations that the killer was in
fact a police officer, I was told about those allegations by high ranking police
officers, I was also told that the police internal
investigations squad B11, is conducting investigations
into two police officers in connection with the Bennett’s name. – But we’ll never really know about that. What we do know is that
Brian Kane shot Ray Bennett because Ray Bennett had shot and killed Brian Kane’s brother
Les it was a quid pro quo. – [Tara] Stephen Barron
believes Bennett knew that payback for his life
and crimes was coming. – Ray’s view of his own
life would have been changed by his success in the robbery. He would’ve known that by
making a name for himself at the same time he was
signing his own death warrant because if he’d made a name for himself then someone was always going
to be looking to chop him and the person who got him
would then have the same kind of partial attachment to
the notoriety that Ray had. The fact that Kane, Les Kane’s brother, killed him outside of a courthouse would probably tend to support the view that you can’t escape
retribution from someone, somewhere, sometime. (gun firing) – Crime doesn’t pay and it
didn’t pay for Ray Bennett. The Great Bookie Robbery,
the money had been spent. Some of it had gone off shore to the Philippines to establish bars. Most of it had gone in
legal fees for those who wanted to stay out of the
reach of the justice system or indeed had gone to pay off police to take the heat off them. Out of the three or four
million dollars stolen, there’s virtually nothing left
after Ray Bennett was killed. – [Tara] His nemesis Brian Murphy was to have one final face to
face with Ray Chuck Bennett. – The police department
gave my squad the job of guarding the body
down at the undertakers because they reckoned that the Kanes were gonna go and chop his hands off, they’d often boasted with his wife. And I was looking at him, I thought well what a waste
of a life, here you are, the age you are and your
wife and kids left behind. What was it all worth? – Despite being shot in broad daylight in front of a small army
of police and lawyers the murder of Ray Chuck
Bennett remains unsolved today. What everyone knows is that
Brian Kane was his killer, but what remains unknown is the extent to which Kane was assisted
in Bennett’s murder. Ray Bennett the gunman, arch thief and criminal mastermind
was finally outsmarted. He died at just 32 years of age. His wife Gail and his sons were
left to pick up the pieces, the man they loved, a man who lived by the
gun had died by the gun. See you next time on Tough Nuts, Australia’s Hardest Criminals. (synthesizer music)

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