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real Crocodile Dundee a meth addict - dead from police shootout

it happened in 1999. something you probably didn't read about:

"Australian Broadcasting Corporation
FOUR CORNERS
Investigative journalism at its very best

TV PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT
LOCATION: abc.net.au > Four Corners > Archives
URL: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/s55944.htm

Broadcast: 27/09/99
Crossroads
This program tells the story behind the disintegration and death of Rod Ansell, the man known as the model for Mick Dundee in the movie "Crocodile Dundee". On 3rd of August Rod Ansell ambushed and killed Sergeant Glen Huitson in a police shoot-out on the bitumen highway linking north and south Australia. Peter George investigates the killing of the two men and examines the cultures most endangered by urbansiation and identifies what was lost when Rod Ansell and Glen Huitson were caught in the corssfire of myth and reality.

---------
Reporter: Peter George
Producer: Matt Brown
Research: Andrea Thomson

Reporter: Peter George
Producer: Matt Brown
Researcher: Andrea Thomson

Priest:
Today we have come here to pay tribute to a brave man, our very own Glen, who in the service of the people has laid down his life.

Peter George:
Sergeant Glen Huitson was a good-natured, fair and sensitive policeman serving in the Northern Territory.

Constable Jamie O'Brien:
Glen didn't like big cities and he had such an interest in the culture of Aboriginal people, he fitted right in.

Peter George:
The man who ambushed and killed Sergeant Huitson on August the third this year was a bushman too called Rodney Ansell, but he'd become known in Australia and around the world as the original model of the mythical Crocodile Dundee.

Geoff James:
The guy had the ability to inspire warmth and loyalty.

Peter George:
The bushman and the bush cop, two frontiersmen, two characters out of the great Australian legend who died in a maelstrom of gunfire. Tonight 'Four Corners' takes you into their world and examines how a myth also died on the bitumen at the last Australian frontier.

Title: Crossroads

Peter George:
People cling to custom and tradition at times of change - and the Top End is changing fast.

Mayor Jim:
I believe poise and personality is an essential component of life and for that reason if for no other, I applaud the return of the debut.

Peter George:
Katherine's annual Debutante's Ball. Resurrected eight years ago, the Deb's Ball commemorates the civilised trimmings of a pioneer life in the bush that was never less than tough.

TC:
This is the are where they drink most during the day...

Peter George:
Beyond the Ball, two Aboriginal volunteers set out on a regular community patrol of Katherine's streets and parks. They're trying to deal with the blight of alcohol that threatens to destroy the culture and traditions of Katherine's other community.

Drunk lady:
Have you got a light?

Lizzy:
No, I haven't got a light.

Peter George:
In very different ways, both communities - white and black - feel the pressure. They're trying to preserve ways of life that are in danger of disappearing. Those who step most frequently between the two communities are cops - good ones understand the delicate balance and bad ones can destroy it - Sergeant Huitson knew it.

Constable Jamie O'Brien:
The way he did things was very firmly but so fair it was like a basic transaction at a bank. Glen explained everything to them as it was happening and he never, ever gave anyone a raw deal.

Jon Tippett, President, Criminal Lawyers Association:
A good bush cop finds that there are many times when enforcing the letter of the law does not solve the problem, and so he arrives or she arrives at decisions that do. You get a bad bush cop in the remote community and all hell can break loose within a very short period of time.

Peter George:
In his own way, the man who was to become known as the original Crocodile Dundee also believed a balance needed to be preserved in the Northern Territory. Rodney Ansell loved the bush, its history and Aboriginal people. He saw them threatened by the urbanisation of the Top End.

Geoff James:
Rod was a chap who was prepared to make do in the mode of a pioneer, whereas most of us these days don't regard that as viable.

Jon Tippett, President, Criminal Lawyers Association:
The real tragedy of it is that to particularly important icons as it were, to a community like ours - that is the good, tough, reliable and decent bush police officer and the tough, resilient individual, the frontiersman - both died together in a hail of bullets, and along with them the Northern Territory ethos.

Peter George:
The busman Ansell and the policeman Huitson both had their work cut out to pursue their chosen paths in a Territory where the reality of the Last Frontier is becoming mirage. If Australia was built on the sheep's back, then the Northern Territory was built on cattle, but that's history. The Territory no longer sees itself as simply outback Australia, more a first business outpost to Asia and the world beyond. As the number of people living off the land has declined, so the number of people making a living from tourism has soared. Darwin's famous pubs and their notoriously heavy-drinking clientele are giving way to the cafe set, and as befits an image for the 21st century, the Government has ordered police to keep the riff-raff off the streets with the toughest law and order regime in Australia. 90 per cent of people taken into protective custody are Aborigines.

Jon Tippett, President, Criminal Lawyers Association:
The bush in many respects is as remote as it ever was - it's just that the association of people, the vast majority of people in the Northern Territory with the bush, is even more remote than it ever was. Darwin sees its life in tourism and defence, and that's all very centralised. The bush is now to be exploited for money. The money comes with a maintenance of the ethos that the Northern Territory community is quite different, when in fact it's really moved predominantly, most of it's population in any event, live in suburbia.

Anthony Hobden:
You can hear the birds chirping and you hear the wallabies thumping around in the morning and they take off when you start moving around. Beautiful out here.

Peter George:
There's not much room or tolerance left in the Top End for people who don't fit in with Darwin's new vision.

Anthony Hobden:
I don't hear my next door neighbour's toilet flush, I don't hear them bitching and arguing at each other, the husband and wife, or yelling at the kids.

Peter George:
Somewhere between yesterday's pioneer and tomorrow's Darwin are today's fringe dwellers.

Anthony Hobden:
Q: So what do you think when you know that people in Darwin think of you as sort of fringies, drop-outs, you know, people who can't make it in real life?
A: Nah, they're crazy. If they came out and stayed out on a block for a while they wouldn't go back into town, they'd want to get away from the suburbs as well. As for people that can't make it in real life and they came out to here, they've been in there, they've seen it, they don't want it.

Peter George:
Anthony Hobden lives 50 kilometres down the Stuart Highway south of town where Rodney Ansell killed the policeman. People in Darwin know the area as the Badlands.

Anthony Hobden:
Doesn't matter whether they're in town or out of town - some people have got guns, some people haven't, some people shouldn't have them.
Q: There's a huge usage in the Northern Territory of marijuana.
A: is there?
Q: yeah, that's what the statistics say.
A: Hmm. Wouldn't really know - it's, 'I smoke' - whoopee.

Peter George:
Anthony's brother, Dave Hobden, lives up the track a bit.

Dave Hobden:
I've got a bore, 240 power, ceiling fans, gyprock, paint, little lounge - I'm comfortable. Everything else is only to impress someone else. It's all the same.

Peter George:
Dave admits to a few legal problems with police over unlicensed firearms and marijuana, but like his brother he thinks the fringe dweller reputation is unearned.

Dave Hobden:
I work as a furniture removalist, as you know, and it's hard yakka, and I'm out there every day, and you've got to work to earn a quid, or you've got to work on your land to give you a feed, and I think I'd rather work for a quid. It's not that far, it's half an hour into town - it's perfect, it's beautiful. I've got my children's ashes in the yard so I'm not going anywhere - this is my little sacred site and I'll be here forever.

Jon Tippett, President, Criminal Lawyers Association:
They're the people who once upon a time would be regarded in the Northern Territory as individuals, and now they're just regarded as a nuisance.

Peter George:
Rodney Ansell didn't fit the modern image of the Northern Territory. He would end his life in a no-man's land between the pioneer of old and the fringe dweller of today, but it didn't start that way.

Title: 'Parkinson', 1981

Parkinson:
He lives in the Northern Territory and makes a living catching wild bulls. He's a young man and yet a bushman of the old school, one of a dying race. His book, which also became a film, is an account of how he survived being lost with no provisions for two months in the wilderness of northern Australia. Ladies and gentlemen, Rodney Ansell. Now welcome and first of all, let's get this story straight, how did you come to be stranded:

Rodney Ansell (on 'Parkinson', 1981):
Well the story's fairly simple, I was fishing...

Peter George:
A small, tough buffalo catcher, Ansell's notoriety arose from his fishing trip in 1977. Somehow his boat overturned and he was forced to spend 56 days living off his wits in the bush.

Rodney Ansell (on BBC documentary):
Now a lot of people said straightaway after this whole incident 'Oh, the lad was up there shooting crocodiles for sure' and there are a lot of crocodiles up there and they thought it rather strange someone should go so far on a fishing trip. Well regardless of this, that or the other thing, I spent, I lost my boat and I spent a couple of months up there.

Peter George:
Ansell privately admitted to friends he had been illegally shooting crocodiles, but for the rest of Australia Ansell seemed to fit snugly into the great Australian legend, while people in the Top End responded with characteristic scepticism - suspecting a publicity stunt. In fact Ansell was found by sheer luck by an old cattleman called Luke McCall.

Luke McCall:
He seemed a little bit embarrassed about the whole thing. I mean, no stockman or bushman of any sort likes to get, likes to be lost, and certainly doesn't like to be rescued.
Q: So you're fairly sure it was not a stunt?
A: Well if it was a stunt it certainly backfired on him, you know, or whoever was going to rescue him - certainly we weren't in the script.

Title: 'To Fight the Wild', 1979

Peter George:
Ansell and Luke McCall took part in a documentary recreation of the incident, 'To Fight the Wild.' It accepted uncritically Ansell's version of events and was followed by a book of the same name. And there it might have rested but for the extraordinary international success of Paul Hogan's 1986 film, 'Crocodile Dundee' which some felt owed at least part of its inspiration to Rodney Ansell. Paul Hogan told 'Four Corners' his film was not based on the Ansell story, but there were enough similarities - like shaving scenes in both films - for people to make the connection and to make Ansell something of a celebrity.

Barry MacDonald calling from Machynlleth, Wales, UK, on the 'Open Air' program:
Is it a daily occurrence having to fight with a crocodile or something like that?

Rodney Ansell (on 'Open Air' program):
Certainly a daily occurrence having a fight with a buffalo, because that's what I've done all my working life. Crocodiles, we treat them with respect and if you have a fight with a crocodile it's probably the only one you're ever going to have.

Peter George:
The Rodney Ansell Geoff James cam e to know was neither Crocodile Dundee nor fringe dweller. He was by 1990 a station owner on the Mary River in northern Arnhem Land, struggling in a modern era to make a go of it as so many had in the past.

Geoff James:
The man I met was a pioneer pastoralist - not like a modern pioneer pastoralist - he didn't have bulldozers and helicopters and that sort of thing, but he was the type of fellow that you would find around the Northern Territory forty years ago in the majority.

Constable Jamie O'Brien:
I think he would've loved to have been around about a hundred years ago. I think that would've been his ideal time, on horseback, long patrols would've suited him to a T.

Peter George:
Constable James O'Brien could almost be speaking about Ansell - but he's not. He's talking about the man he saw shot down by Ansell - his partner, Sergeant Glen Huitson.

Constable Jamie O'Brien:
He was interested in what had happened in the past, not so much as looking for the future. He was very interested and I think he learnt a lot from the way the early police did their jobs and went about their duties, and I think that is something that makes a good bush copper, is having the interest in the way things were or how hard things were, so you can appreciate what we've got now.

Peter George:
By the time Glen Huitson arrived at the small community of Adelaide River south of Darwin last year, he'd already carved out a quiet reputation as the quintessential, old-fashioned bush cop. James O'Brien was the junior officer at the two-man Adelaide River Police Station. He saw his partner gunned down - and he was the man who returned fire and killed Ansell.

Constable Jamie O'Brien:
I think about it all the time, but I can't rewrite the books. I'm back at work, I think that's good therapy.

Peter George:
O'Brien believes Huitson epitomised the good bush cop.

Constable Jamie O'Brien:
You're part of the community and you're not seen so much as a police officer as just another part of the community, like the mechanic or the baker or something. The downside is you are left a lot to your own decision making and devices and survival a lot of times - we're a long way from other police, so we have to sort things out ourselves. It's got to be of the right mix - you can't be seen to be very soft, and by the same token you can't be seen to be overly harsh - it's got to be just the right balance.

Sergeant Dale Campbell:
Well we look at it this way, and that is that you've got, in round figures, 30 per cent of the Territory are Aboriginal people and around 70 per cent of our workload deals directly or as a consequence of Aboriginal people, and Glen was exceptional in that he treated everybody the same. There was, well I suppose putting it in a modern term, no hang ups - he looked at things as they were and he dealt with people as people.

Eddie Taylor:
You find a lot of people that, whether it be policemen or whether it be a Government official, when they go out to talk to Aboriginal people they've got a bad habit of standing while the people are sitting on the ground. Well glen had a habit of sitting on the ground with the people and showing the respect back, that he wasn't any higher than they were, and that he was there to help them with their everyday problems.

Miriam Baumman:
It's really hard because we've experience a lot of police officers come into this community and sometimes it works for the policeman and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes we give up on trying to help teach this person how to behave in a community such as this.

Peter George:
Miriam Baumman has seen a lot of white policemen come and go. She's the daughter of a black tracker, the school principal at the Aboriginal community of Daley River and a member of the community council.

Miriam Baumman:
You can't afford to make mistakes, especially in an Aboriginal community.
Q: Why? What happens if you do make those mistakes?
A: People won't have respect for you, they just reject you.
Q: And then what effect does that have on the community?
A: Oh, it's not worth that person staying here, that they might have to be asked to move on.

Peter George:
First in Alice Springs and later here in the smaller, more isolated community of Daley River, Aboriginal people took Glen Huitson to heart. They gave him a tribal name and made him part of their families.

Miriam Baumman:
It took him a long time - I mean you don't learn those things straightaway sort of thing, it takes years and years to learn, and he was only here for a few years and he managed to adjust himself in what, how and where and whatever, and how to react to different things in the community.

Peter George:
Glen Huitson's roots within Daley River were cemented when he met one of the white school teachers. In 1993 he and Lisa Phelan married in the community's Catholic church. By the time he died they had a two-year-old son and a baby daughter.

Mark Casey, Aboriginal Community Police Officer:
He was part of the family really because he married one of the school teachers from here, and she was adopted by my family, and he was adopted by another family too, and that sort of forms that family relationship - and that's where the feelings really come into it.
Q: So you've lost a member of the family?
A: We've lost a member of the family, yeah.

Sammy Bulabul:
He was a man who was very helpful, especially to Aboriginal people.

Peter George:
Within Aboriginal communities, the bushman Rodney Ansell also found a spirit of kinship.

Sammy Bulabul:
Q: Good worker?
A: Good worker, yeah.
Q: Hard worker?
A: Hard worker, real hard working man too.

Aboriginal women:
He taught all the men the white man's way of bull catching, driving a car, catching buffalo. He's not a cop killer to us.

Peter George:
When he died, the people who'd given Ansell his own Aboriginal tribal name did something exceptional - they interrupted an initiation ceremony to bury him on their land.

Peter Woods:
He was more than a friend, he was family to us. That's why we buried him our way, tribal way, cultural way.

Tex Camfoo:
Rod was a mighty man, he was hard as nails as I said before. He taught a lot of blokes, he taught me how to roll a buffalo and things like that. Showed the other young boys, too.
Q: So he was even able to teach you a thing or two, was he?
A: Oh, yes, he did. It was tragic for us people because a lot of us grew up with him. He taught a lot of people how to work. Put a lot of fences up here, did a good job here.

Peter George:
So what went wrong? In 1985, Ansell seemed set to fulfil the dream of the old cattlemen of the Northern Territory - he borrowed money, bought Government land and started Melaleuca Station. The Crocodile Dundee image lingered and film crews still beat a path to his door from overseas, but for all his bushman reputation, Ansell by now had two young sons. With his wife, Joanne, they were apparently settling into a traditional Top End life and building a homestead on the station.

Sammy Bulabul:
When the boys were small babies me and my wife would take care of them, especially when he went away on a job. We used to take care of the boys, make them wash, give them food, supper.

Christine Bulabul:
Q: They were good boys, Christine?
A: Sometimes!

Sammy Bulabul:
Sometimes when they were naughty, Christine would give them a bit of a smack on the bum, to make them understand and they were really good.

Geoff James:
Rod came to this particular property, here at Melaleuca, penniless, with a dream and a willingness to work hard, and that's, of course, what every pioneer used to do.

Peter George:
Geoff James met Ansell in 1990 when things started to go wrong. Ansell's marriage was falling apart and the banks were closing in on Melaleuca.

Geoff James:
He knew that it was inhabited by liberal numbers of feral buffalo and his plan, similar to the plan of many past pioneers, was to capture those feral buffalo, domesticate them and utilise them as a pastoral herd. Now had he been able to work those animals it would have been a very profitable lifestyle, but in fact he was required to destroy them as a result of the Brucellosis eradication directives that he received from the Government.

Peter George:
Like many Top End cattlemen, Ansell felt cheated by the Government's controversial B-Tech program to eradicate Brucellosis and Tuberculosis from cattle herds. He was forced to slaughter thousands of buffalo and was still hoping to win more compensation when he died.

Geoff James:
He regarded it as a needles waste of good livestock in circumstances where, in his sincere belief - and I tend to agree with him - the Government was acting on incorrect assumptions.
Q: So the Brucellosis campaign basically destroyed his plans for Melaleuca?
A: Without doubt.

Tony Searle, Manager, Melaleuca Station:
It was good country, good buffalo country, but then he tended to do what he wanted to do and let it go backwards.

Peter George:
Neighbour Tony Searle watched as the prolific Mimosa weed took hold at Melaleuca. Ansell didn't have the money to bring in bulldozers to fight back the weed - and his bushman background rebelled at the regime of fire and poison used by his neighbours.

Tony Searle, Manager, Melaleuca Station:
It just went from strength to strength in the early '80s. It could have been controlled fairly easily by a couple of people in a few days and I think that the talk about bio-control was the big thing at the time and he tended to dwell on the bio-control and said 'She'll be right.'

Peter George:
But it wasn't right, the business was going bad. Police raided several times looking for marijuana crops, but never found any. The banks foreclosed, Tony Searle eventually came to manage Melaleuca for new owners and he was not impressed with Ansell.

Tony Searle, Manager, Melaleuca Station:
He tended to drift off and ring up and talk to you and then never ever remember what you talked about or what was going on.
Q: Well most of his friends say, for instance, he spent lots of time smoking the old ganja, marijuana. Did he seem to you to be that sort of a bloke?
A: It seemed to be there, that would be fairly close to the mark I'd say.
Q: So as a property owner, as a pastoralist I suppose, how did he run this place?
A: Well I think that's where he let down a fair bit of being a good busman, but he didn't show it in his hands with his attitude to work, because it was a really good property and it had deteriorated over a period of time.

Dwyn Delaney:
Losing the station, yeah, I think which he loved - and it was beautiful country out there - and he lost it. And then he got a job back there as a manager, and then unfortunately that fell through too, so then he basically had to leave. And yeah, so I think he took that hard, but yeah, I think he might have just been born in the wrong century, really.

Peter George:
Dwyn Delaney's spent his life around stockmen. He admired Ansell's bush ability and independent spirit, but like many of his friends, Delaney believes Ansell kept too much to himself.

Dwyn Delaney:
He took a lot of things hard and I think a lot of the times he wouldn't show that, and he would be in a depressed state in some way, but I don't think he - he didn't talk about it too much, but you knew obviously he was thinking about it, or was having trouble with it.

Title: Home video, 1998

Peter George:
In recent years Delaney had been helping Ansell and his companion, Cherie Hewson, plan a horseback trek through Arnhem Land collecting scientific and anthropological information along the route of the explorer Leichhardt.

Dwyn Delaney:
Oh, he had a great sense of history, yeah. I mean he knew a lot about history, and I think Ned Kelly epitomised a lot of his, the battler, but he also mentioned it I think once to me that he'd never get taken alive either.

Peter George:
Ansell was trying to cope with increasingly black moods and Delaney hoped the expedition would give his friend new purpose. He helped Ansell and Cherie drive a bunch of almost wild brumbies on a trek of hundreds of kilometres to the Aboriginal station at Urapunga where Ansell was based, but by November last year his behavior had become more erratic. He wrote to his friend and solicitor Geoff James asking him to tidy up his affairs over the B-tech compensation claim.

Geoff James:
And he asked me would I get on and take the case to court and obtain whatever compensation I could for him and split it up amongst his relatives in whatever way I thought was a reasonable idea.
Q: In retrospect, is that an implication somehow that he'd given up on everything or that in fact he might have felt suicidal?
A: Well when I recently re-read the letter I did get the impression that it was a resignation speech. At the time I didn't think that way, I just thought, 'I'll give you a good talking to when I see you next, old boy.'

Peter George:
While Ansell was struggling with his darkening moods, Sergeant Glen Huitson was winning promotion. Huitson was to receive a commendation for his handling of an attempted hijacking early this year. A gunman had climbed on the bull bar of Peter Joyce's tourist bus.

Peter Joyce:
Well if I got up to a reasonable speed he just basically hung on with two hands and that was my ultimate aim, but when I slowed down then he'd bang his sawn-off gun on the window and continue to threaten and to ask to be let in the coach.

Peter George:
When Huitson caught up, he found himself confronting a gunman holding hostage a bus full of German tourists - and with back-up at least 20 minutes away.

Peter Joyce:
Glen came up behind the coach and told him to put his weapon down and walk away from the coach, and he just repeated very simple, logical things over and over again to enforce, I guess, the position.

Peter George:
What impressed his colleagues as they raced to the scene was the way Huitson stayed in control despite the rising tension.

Detective Sergeant Les Chapman:
When we first heard Glen come over the air he was very apprehensive, he was nervous - the female supervisor here on communications calmed him down. [He was a] normal police officer, had a serious situation to deal with, dealt with it extremely well, but he was nervous and he was apprehensive.

Peter Joyce:
To be honest if he'd just up and shot him I would have been quite happy at the time, but then of course after - and Glen didn't take his gun out of his holster, he just played it cool.

Detective Sergeant Les Chapman:
Glen rugby-tackled him to the ground and myself - usual late tackle - I came and took the wind out of him and most probably took the wind out of Glen when I hit him. We joked about it after - we reckon it would've got me five matches.
Q: Five matches off the pitch?
A: Yeah, that's about right.

Peter George:
Huitson's star was rising, Ansell's was fading. He was starting to become delusional, heading down the road that would bring him to the fringes of Darwin and the fatal shooting. On top of his use of marijuana, Ansell was by now injecting himself with speed - shooting up amphetamines in the middle of the Australian bush he loved.

Dwyn Delaney:
I just don't know whether he was heading down the road and whether he actually thought he was pushing himself to the limit and whether there was gunna be no end to it, or... I don't know why the wheels fell off really.

Peter George:
Those wheels fell off in the past few months. Ansell admitted to some friends he was entering a nightmare world of delusion. He and Cherie abandoned the shack they lived in at Urapunga Station, leaving behind books about bizarre killings and satanic sects. They set up a remote bush camp and told people a Freemason cult was stalking them. Cherie has not spoken to 'Four Corners', but has given a similar account to police.

Peter Woods:
Something strange, I don't know what, he wouldn't tell me. He was worried about his two sons in case something happened to them.

Peter George:
Ansell told his friend Peter Woods he was expecting a visit from his sons in Darwin. Somehow he missed meeting them and he connected it with strange occurrences in the bush.

Peter Woods:
He ran into some strange people wearing goggle sort of things. He went off and questioned them, asking what they were there for. They told him they were up there looking for buffalo, but not buffalo shooters wear them.
Q: What sort of goggles?
A: I don't know, I didn't see them, but that's what he told me he saw. All three of them were wearing them.

Peter George:
No one's sure who these people were - or if they existed. Ansell said they carried bows and arrows. Bow and arrow hunting is popular amongst some hunters in the Top End, but somehow Ansell became convinced these shadows in the scrub posed some threat to his sons. Ansell and Cherie borrowed Peter Woods' car and drove by night to Darwin to look for the boys. He tried to telephone his wife but couldn't contact her. Ansell reportedly let himself into the home of a doctor friend where he helped himself to food and several emergency medical kits. Sleepless, distraught, they ended up with friends in the so-called Badlands on the southern fringes of Darwin, convinced the cult had taken his sons and was moving in on them - and that the police were in on it. Ansell's friends are reluctant to speak publicly, but it's clear that shortly after leaving them he came back to try to confront his demons. Within 12 hours he would destroy the myth of the bushman and end the life of the bush cop. In the dark, he opened fire at the shacks.

Brian Williams:
Yeah, well OK, it started up on the balcony and we heard five shots, and my neighbour obviously heard the five shots and came over to see what was going on.

Dave Hobden:
And I had an old shot gun here at the time so I chucked that in the truck, started the truck up and I thought that maybe me going up there or put a shot in the air might scare him off or what have you.

Brian Williams:
The dude, or whoever was sniping, was lying over in the long grass over here somewhere and my mate, Hobs, pulled up out the front here and he's just punched two shots into him.

Dave Hobden:
Leaned over to grab the shottie, as I've leaned over the bullet's just missed, all the glass that comes through with the bullet from the windscreen is all lodged in my eye and peppered around my face.

Brian Williams:
Anyhow, Hob went wandering down the road under fire, the guy tried to blow him away under fire, he was sniping at him going down the road screaming he has been shot and couldn't see.

Dave Hobden:
Went out across Willy's yard, this guy's still screaming incoherently, firing shots.

Brian Williams:
Anyhow, so I came down the stairs there, slid down the stairs - no clothes on or nothing, with a baseball bat - came out here, out to the front yard here, grabbed my mate and wheeled him back into the house.

Dave Hobden:
I'm sort of yelling out, 'I've been shot in the face! I've been shot in the face - I can't see!'

Brian Williams:
And while I'm wheeling him back into the house, I heard his truck - the bloke was trying to release the brakes on his truck. So I sprinted over to the back of the truck, jumped on the back of the truck and just - oh, crazy thoughts went through my mind at the time about being naked on the back of the truck and shit like this - so I made the decision to dong him on the head with the baseball bat, and on impact he blew me finger off. So after that I panicked a bit I suppose and ran back into the house, and he came up and he hammered us through the window here - couple of shots just missed the little girl's head - then came around the back of the house and really gave it to us. Started singing out something like, 'You're not so cocksure of yourself now, are you?' I had to agree with him - he took the wind out of my sails. He just started screaming out shit about Freemasons stealing kids and raping kids and 'You're gunna give me back my kids' and all this sort of shit, and he was ranting like a madman.

Kirra Wheeler:
I was hiding in there after I got off the floor where mum was lying because bullets were going to come through the floor, and as I was in here a bullet came through the top and missed my head by that much through there.

Peter George:
Ansell slipped away in the dark - police still didn't know who the gunman was.

Assistant Commissioner John Daulby, N.T. Police:
If you look at that scrub it's not thick scrub, it's quite light, and you look at what Ansell was purported to have been - a marvellous person in the bush - and he could have got away, he could easily have got away.

Peter George:
But Ansell didn't leave. The police blocked off the road - not to keep the gunman in, but to keep civilians out. By daybreak he could have been home free. Instead, Ansell began to stalk the police, moving in on a road bock being manned by Sergeant Glen Huitson and Constable James O'Brien. They had no idea he was there. It was mid-morning. Anthony Hobden and his mate John were having a yarn with the two policemen.

Anthony Hobden:
You can see here the cop car was here where the marks are - Jonno's up against, just sort of leaning against the bonnet and Glen's sitting here in a deck chair with the door open, and Jamie's at the back of the car here sitting down in a deck chair.

Jon Anthonysz:
I got shot in the back and that's - all I saw was the front when I hit it, was the bitumen.

Anthony Hobden:
Coppers sprung up like you see in a movie, just sprung up, leaned over the boot and the bonnet sort of thing and just started returning fire.

Jon Anthonysz:
I hadn't realised I'd been shot until I was actually laying on the ground.

Anthony Hobden:
He's on the edge of the road sort of thing - bloody, in pain, been hit, been shot, screaming out to get him out from the line of fire.

Jon Anthonysz:
Anthony came and grabbed me out of the cross-fire - which he's a brave man for doing - and they returned fire as they would.

Anthony Hobden:
He was shooting at us from just over here - from behind the bloody dirt over here - when I got to see him, and coppers asking me can I see him? Can I see him?

Jon Anthonysz:
I can hear the car being hit, I can hear rounds being spent at him - a lot of hot, spent shells bouncing off the road. Then Glen got shot and so then there's two men down, and he's calling two men down.

Anthony Hobden:
And as soon as I saw him, Jamie saw him at the same time and just leet him have it with the shotgun.

Jon Anthonysz:
Jamie's spotted his target and was able to get a shot out before he got one himself.

Anthony Hobden:
And see he must have been here because there are heaps of bullets through the trees here. Stuff the arsehole - he's dead, good and buried.

Jon Anthonysz:
Lucky someone killed him, because he was gunna die one way or the other. So it saves a lot of people hunting him down, that's for sure. Cheeky bugger, yeah.

Constable Jamie O'Brien:
I just felt so bad for Lisa and the children and that was my main thoughts. I just, it was just devastating to think that they had so many plans and to see Lisa at the hospital and little Joseph running around asking me to show him the park - he had no idea - and I just felt sorry for them.

Peter George:
Glen Huitson will go on being remembered as a good bush cop. The cross beside the Stuart Highway from Adelaide to Darwin is intended to keep that memory alive. For his part, Rodney Ansell will be remembered as the Crocodile Dundee who shot a cop and was shot down at the crossroads - a bushman tragically out of place in the Top End of today.

Jon Tippett, President, Criminal Lawyers Association:
It's unfortunate that he became - at the end - he became a character at the time when the frontier had already died. The ethos that he represented was really in the embers of that frontier, and consequently when the tragedy occurred and he and the police officer died, there was really the end to the myth.

Peter George:
The legends will live on, but they're growing further from the reality of life in the Northern Territory. The Top End has outgrown its image as the last Australian frontier."
source


Added: Jul-8-2008 
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