There's a couple of articles recently about the murder of Brian Kane. Apparently new info has come out and they're investigating. My understanding is that Russell 'mad dog' Cox and Keith Faure were responsible. Cox was related to Ray Bennett by marriage and since Brian killed Bennett it seems reasonable. And Keith Faure would murder anyone for the money
ONE of Australia's most notorious prison escapees and a Melbourne gunman are the prime suspects in a new investigation into the murder of standover man Brian Kane, who was gunned down in a Brunswick hotel 27 years ago.
Police have reopened the murder investigation into the professional gangland hit on Kane that was part of a vicious underworld war linked to the 1976 Great Bookie Robbery.
They have been told one of the men who killed Kane was Russell ''Mad Dog'' Cox, who spent 11 years on the run after escaping from a NSW prison.
Detectives yesterday announced a doubling of the reward for information on the murder to $100,000 and left open the possibility of an indemnity for criminals on the periphery of the crime.
Cox was serving life for the attempted murder of a prison officer in an earlier escape when he broke out of a top-security division of Sydney's Long Bay jail in 1977. He was recaptured at Doncaster Shoppingtown 11 years later after he crashed his getaway car as police fired shots at him.
The Kane case was secretly reopened late last year after police received new information while investigating another murder. While taskforce detectives refuse to identify the suspects, the investigation centres on Cox and the Melbourne gunman, who can't be named for legal reasons.
Detective acting Senior Sergeant Craig Fitzgerald yesterday said police were confident of making arrests. ''We believe it will be resolved.''
The killing was part of a Melbourne underworld war that left five men dead and a void later filled by a new breed of gangsters including the notorious Moran clan.
Brian Kane's brother Les was shot dead in his Wantirna home in October 1978 and his body has never been found. Three men were charged and acquitted of the murder. One of those men, Ray Bennett, was shot dead by a lone gunman in the City Court in November 1979. Police believe Brian Kane was the killer.
Cox was a close friend of Bennett's. He married Bennett's wife's sister, Helen Deane, and was part of Bennett's armed robbery team.
Cox and the Melbourne gunman were also friends. A police intelligence report from the time said the man was ''Believed running with Russell Cox.''
Cox was released from prison in 2004 and moved to Brisbane with Deane, where he lives quietly under an assumed name, shunning all publicity.
Cox, known as ''Mad Dog'' and ''Cox the Fox'', was one of the most feared gunmen of his generation and a master criminal who organised some of Australia's biggest payroll robberies.
On January 3, 1983, police discovered that Australia's most wanted escapee was also the country's most efficient armed robber after a body was found in the backyard of a Mount Martha home.
The shooting victim was career criminal Ian Revell Carroll, who died in a gun battle with Cox.
The two had carried out several armed robberies and the dispute was believed to be over the stolen money.
When police arrived at the Helena Street house they discovered a massive arsenal of weapons and armed robbery plans hidden in the ceiling
BRIAN Kane knew he would die young. There was a bullet out there with his name on it and it was only ever a matter of when and where he was going to meet it.
''He was convinced I would outlive him,'' veteran prison priest Father John Brosnan said hours after he buried the man who had the reputation of being one of Australia's toughest gangsters.
In the early 1980s, Kane was in the middle of an underworld war that had already claimed three lives and was far from over.
It began as a dispute over the proceeds of one of Australia's most famous crimes - the Great Bookie Robbery. A team of robbers, led by Ray Bennett, raided the Victorian Club, then in Queen Street, where bookies settled after race day. Bennett chose the date - April 21, 1976 - the first settling day after Easter. He knew the bookies would be settling not for one, but three race meetings.
They grabbed 118 calico bags filled with cash. The total amount stolen will never be known. The official amount was declared to be $1.4 million, but the real figure was closer to $2 million - a true fortune more than 30 years ago.
Brian Kane made a comfortable living by frightening fellow criminals and was well qualified to demand a share of the bookie robbery funds. He was not accustomed to taking no for an answer.
But Bennett wasn't easily frightened. He also had a reputation and, like the Kanes, was well connected in the Painters and Dockers union. He was not going to plan one of Australia's biggest crimes to give up the profit to a family of sharks.
Brooding dislike had erupted into bloodshed after Kane was on the receiving end of a beating in a Richmond hotel from one of Bennett's mates, leaving him missing part of his left ear. Brian Kane's brother, Les, vowed revenge and threatened to attack Bennett's family. ''Brian was dangerous but measured. Les was a psychopath,'' a Melbourne underworld figure said.
Bennett, the man they called ''The General'', reasoned that he couldn't reason with Les Kane and decided to hit first. Leslie Herbert Kane was gunned down in his Wantirna unit in October 1978. His body was never found.
When Bennett, Laurie Prendergast and Vinnie Mikkelsen were acquitted of the murder, brother Brian became obsessed with a payback. He saw Mikkelsen's barrister at a nightclub after the acquittal and told him he was ''going to cut your client's head off and leave it on your front door step''.
Another time when he found the lawyer in a bar he pulled a gun on him as a reminder that not all was forgiven. One of Kane's best friends, Graham ''The Munster'' Kinniburgh, knocked the gun out of his hand. After Brian's death (in 1982) ''The Munster'' began to associate with colourful characters such as Alphonse Gangitano (shot dead in 1998) and Mick Gatto.
Kinniburgh would excel in his role as underworld peacemaker - until he didn't. He was shot dead in December 2003.
Kane's moment of payback happened in November 1979 when Ray Bennett was shot dead in the City Court while being escorted by police to an armed robbery committal hearing. Brian Kane was the man who killed Bennett, although it has become part of underworld folklore that he had some police assistance along the way.
The killer ran from the old court, through a car park to the corrugated tin fence at RMIT, which had already been peeled back in advance. Someone with a home-ground advantage had helped out.
Brian Kane tried to keep a low profile after the Bennett murder but Ray was popular and Kane knew his cards were marked.
''After he killed Bennett, Kane kept on the move. Brian never kept appointments, he was very elusive,'' a former policeman said.
He knew they would be coming. But it would take three years for the inevitable to happen.
When it came, the day would unfold like any other for Kane. As a career criminal he didn't have to worry about regular work and on Friday, November 26, 1982, he was looking forward to a long lunch.
Now aged 40, the former boxer was beginning to go to seed but he was still a man to be reckoned with.
He met a female mate, Sandra Walsh, at a coffee shop in Grattan Street and then drifted off for lunch in Lygon Street. Around 4.15pm the couple left for some fresh air and shopping. Kane made sure he was seen in the strip. It was part of his business to be spotted there regularly as his standover beat included the illegal gambling spots hidden above the popular restaurants and cafes.
Brian became bored and stopped for a quick haircut before the couple headed to the Tramway Hotel in Fitzroy for a few gin and tonics. Then around 9pm they went to the Quarry Hotel in Lygon Street, Brunswick. It was a semi-regular drinking spot for Kane who was popular at the pub. He was the first to chat to anyone in the hotel and the first to put his hand in his pocket for a raffle.
He spoke to an older woman in the lounge, asking her how the television he had bought her was working, and then bought a round of gin and tonics before settling in next to the juke box. Police believe the gunmen knew they would find Kane at the Quarry.
Earlier, a mutual friend had borrowed Sandra Walsh's distinctive V12 Jaguar and Kane told him to drop it back at the Quarry after 8pm. For anyone looking for Kane they would have been able to spot the luxury sports car outside the pub. And the two men hunting him were experts at picking their moment.
As Kane sat down, two men wearing balaclavas burst in and began firing from .38 snub-nosed revolvers - the same type of weapon that Kane used to kill Bennett three years earlier.
He was shot in the head and chest at point-blank range and died on the operating table at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Typically, the homicide squad was confronted with the usual blank looks and silence from those who could have helped solve the murder. Those who didn't know speculated. Those who did said nothing.
There was a short list of suspects. Some were obvious while some were less so. Top of the list were the obvious two, Vinnie Mikkelsen and Laurie Prendergast, as they were the ones with most to gain from Kane's death. For if Kane had killed Bennett in the City Court to avenge his brother's death, it would be a fair bet he would eventually go after the other two. But despite the theories there was nothing directly linking them to the Quarry Hotel hit.
(Prendergast would be murdered in 1985 and his body never found.)
The head of the case - Victoria's most experienced homicide investigator, Detective Senior Sergeant Jim Fry - said the obvious motive for the murder was a payback for the Bennett killing.
''Whoever did it was either very professional or very lucky because they got away with it.''
The smart money has always been on two others. Both were calculating loners who would occasionally team up with others for a few jobs before moving on. One is a notorious gunman who is infamous in the underworld and virtually unknown outside of it. Unlike today's glamour gangsters, he knows publicity is bad for business.
The second suspect for the Kane murder is Russell Cox, who escaped from NSW's maximum security Katingal Division in Sydney's Long Bay in 1977 and would spend 11 years on the run. When he was let into the exercise yard he pulled himself up with one arm and cut through the bars with the other holding a tiny saw. He then painted the bars to hide the saw cuts until he was ready to go.
While on the run Cox lived with Helen Deane - the sister of Ray Bennett's wife - and had a vested interest in backing-up for the Magistrates Court killing. Bennett and Cox had teamed up to commit armed robberies in Victoria and Queensland and were loyal mates.
Cox and the Melbourne gunman were also friends and linked to a series of armed robberies including one in which a security guard was shot dead.
Just three months after the Quarry Hotel hit, police received intelligence that the Melbourne gunman had shot a man in Reservoir. The report said the Melbourne gunman was ''believed running with Russell Cox''.
Certainly the gunman and Cox were seen chatting over coffee in Hawthorn just months before the Kane hit. And Cox was said to have run with the survivors of Bennett's Great Bookie Robbery gang pulling several major jobs.
COX was considered the most calculating gunman of his generation. It was only after he killed fellow hardman Ian Revell Carroll in a shoot-out in the backyard of a Mount Martha house in January 1983 that police found the escapee was also Australia's biggest armed robber.
They found large wooden boxes filled with armed robbery kits that included guns, disguises, first aid equipment and plans.
They also believe he escaped with $1 million in stolen cash and fake passports he had hidden in a home-brew beer barrel under a shed in the backyard.
He was eventually arrested at Doncaster Shoppingtown in July 1988 after he crashed his getaway car while under fire from the armed robbery squad.
When he was handcuffed he told detectives, ''You blokes will jump through hoops when you know who I am''. Later when his identity was confirmed he posed for a team shot with the men who caught him. He was released from jail in 2004 and moved to a Brisbane suburb with Deane, who he had married inside prison. Only an administrative glitch allowed him a chance at freedom.
Katingal was never officially gazetted as a jail so Cox could not be convicted of escape and he was not prosecuted for several armed robberies and murders because of lack of evidence.
But during his final jail stint he was a model inmate and even prison officers believed he was a reformed man. While in prison he was a polite loner who was popular with inmates and prison guards.
He studied at Grafton TAFE and passed courses in computer studies, numeracy, literacy, youth work and first aid.
He was awarded a certificate in hospitality and studied food and nutrition. He became a qualified fitness trainer and boxing coach.
For a major player in the underworld, Kane's estate was surprisingly modest. But that was before illegal drugs became the currency of crime. Kane was respected, not because he was rich, but because he was tough. He was one of the last suburban gangsters.
There were 169 death notices placed in The Sun including a handful from star footballers in the week after his death. Some of the notices were placed by the men who would fill the power vacuum left by the Kane murders. Mick Gatto and Alphonse Gangitano were to pay their respects, while one notice to ''Uncle Brian'' was signed by ''Your little mate, Jason Moran.''
Moran was shot dead in a gangland hit in Essendon North in June 2003. Les Kane's daughter Suzie has been charged over the murder of Desmond Moran, Jason's uncle, who was shot dead in June this year.
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Hits of the past
” LESLIE HERBERT KANE Shot dead in his Wantirna unit, October 19, 1978.
” RAY BENNETT Shot dead in the City Magistrates Court, November 12, 1979. Had been acquitted of the Les Kane murder.
” NORMAN McLEOD Shot dead outside his Coolaroo house on July 16, 1981, in a case of mistaken identity. His brother-in-law, Vinnie Mikkelsen, had been acquitted of Les Kane's murder.
” BRIAN KANE Killed at the Quarry Hotel, Brunswick, November 26, 1982. Blamed for Ray Bennett's murder.
” LAURENCE JOSEPH PRENDERGAST Disappeared on August 23, 1985. Acquitted of Les Kane's murder