(whoosh) (sirens) (dog barking) (uptempo music) - [tara] meet russell 'mad dog' cox, a violent gunman, armedrobber, prison escapologist, and australia's mostwanted man for 11 years. (car running) - good evening, driver.
home please. (tires squeel) (rock and roll music) - hi, i'm tara moss,and this is tough nuts, australia's hardest criminals. tonight, we examine thelife of russell cox, a highly intelligent, supremelyskilled, violent criminal. through dramatized scenes,first hand accounts, and psychological analysis,we will follow his life
from bike thief at agenine, to australia's most wanted man. - plenty of good crooks in this country would consider russellcox to be the greatest bank robber this country's ever seen. - russell cox, a bloody good bloke, he's a real australian, lastof the true bank robbers. he'd be the banjo paterson andhenry lawson of bank robbers. - that was the best fun i've ever had.
- he certainly wouldn'thesitate to use violence, his record clearly shows that. i mean, he's shot a man. - i said, keep still! - he had this reputation,he was an extremely active and violent criminal. he had to be quarantinedfrom the community. he was mad. - russell cox was an armedhold up man, an escape artist,
who terrorized australiaduring the 1970's and 80's. he was known in criminalcircles for having a cool head. but, he wasn't aboveusing guns in his crimes. he became most famous fromhis escapes from custody. and, his chameleon like abilityto change his appearance while on the run. he lived his life likea military commando, keeping fit by running15 kilometers a day, with a concealed gun.
he kept his hideouts filled with heavy military styleweapons, bullet proof vests, disguises, and gas masks. his companion, while he wasaustralian's most wanted man, was the love of his life,helen deane, a nurse. her skills came in handy. she's believed to have saved his life after he was shot in thethigh in a gun battle. when cox escaped katingal,he was serving life
for the attempted murderof a prison officer, from an earlier escape attempt. the police expected to have him in custody in just a few days but, in fact, he wouldn't be caught for 11 years. - [narrator] russell cox is the first prisoner ever to escape from katingal, the new maximum securitysection here at long bay jail. he's also regarded bypolice as potentially
the most dangerousprisoner ever to escape. - [tara] in an interviewfor abc tv in 2005, the commissioner of new southwales corrective services, ron woodham, showed justhow cox made his escape. - russell cox smuggled asmall piece of hacksaw blading in a belt when he was out on escort. at court, he was given abelt and he swapped belts. he climbed up the grillwork there, and do chin ups on the bars on the roof,just take the blade out for
a couple saw cuts every day,put it back, and just exercise. - you gotta give him credit,because he was able to climb up, hang on by onearm, saw with the other, and do a little bit of sawing each day, cover up his work, and then go back into the rest of the, wherehis cell in katingal. they all had separate cells. and then, as i said when, when he finally got that bar cut through,he was able to escape.
- once on to the roof,cox scampered over that, jumps over the edge ofthe concrete bunker, runs a short distanceto a wire fence about four meters again, scales that,runs another short distance, jumps across, scalesanother four meter fence, jumps down there, all thetime knowing the officers within katingal could notget out in time to catch him. then, he had a couple of meters to run to the perimeter, thebrick wall around long bay,
over that, and then he's off. - [tara] another key to cox's escape was his lifelong dedicationto staying in peak physical condition. - throughout his criminalcareer, the steady information that we always receivedwas that he was an absolute fitness fanatic.' - every evening, cox would run the length of one of his landings back and forwards
in part, one would assume,to get himself fit or fitter. but, also with this escape plan in mind. - he then worked himselftowards this very high level of fitness, that says a lotabout his determination, and begrudgingly i'llhave to say his guts to... - good evening, driver. - [brian] pull off such an escape. - home please. would consider russellcox to be the greatest,
if that's the right word, bank robber this country's ever seen. we've got a fella whobreaks out of the most secure jail in the country,and then spends 11 years on the run, committingmajor crimes up and down the eastern seaboard. many people in the sameline of business as cox have previously said thatthey regard him as the armed robber's armed robber.
and, the best way to dothat was to put him in jail. i might add, he was verygood at getting out of jail. but, that only created circumstances which put him in jail for a longer period again. society demands to be protected from these habitualcriminals like russell cox. russell cox was the only peace free, yoga, yoga lovin, peace free,hippie, gunman bank robber, alleged killer i've ever met.
ya know, the only thinghe has out of place, a touch of curry and chilipepper in the vegetables, doesn't smoke, doesn't drink. he was into all thistouchy feely, you know, save the world stuff,you know or you know. but, he liked robberies and carrying guns. - the aura around cox,i think, first of all stems from the katingal escape. no one had done it before,no one ever did it again.
then he spent 11 years on the run, that this was australia's most wanted man, there's really no doubt about that. public enemy number one. - with extraordinarily physical strength, cunning, and sheer force of will, russell cox escaped from katingal. the jail said to be inescapable. he was now on the run.
after the break, we look atrussell cox in his early years, when he learned the perversethrill of armed robbery. - that was gas! that was the best fun i've ever had! - you liked that, did you? - yeah, hell yeah! it was unreal, my heart'sbeatin out of my chest. (rock music) - welcome back to tough nuts,australia's hardest criminals.
and russell cox,australia's most wanted man. the man of many disguiseswas also a man of many names. russell cox was bornmelville peter schnitzerling, in brisbane in 1949. his family nicknamed himtim, and it was not until he started his life of crime, that schnitzerling took onthe name of russell cox. he grew up in balmain, aninner city suburb of sydney. in the 1950's, balmain was a tough,
working class suburb wheremen worked on the docks and often fell into crime. cox first came to the attention of police at just nine years ofage when he was charged with stealing a bicycle. from there, he was in andout of juvenile facilities before finally being sentto an adult jail in 1966 for stealing a car. cox was a bright kid, but evidently
tempted by an easy dollar. - mark reid tells a story whichmay well be apocryphal that, cox's life of crime beganwhen he was about 10, when he won a raffle, theprize for which was a bicycle. and, cox had not been presentfor the draw of this raffle, and therefore been denied the prize, and in some sort of misguided retaliation had stolen himself a bicycle. certainly court recordsshow that cox was before
asheville children's courtfor stealing 3 bicycles. a year later, he wascommitted to an institution and within that year,still age 12, was committed to an institution until he was 18. so, he has spent themajority of his childhood in boys homes. - well my, he grew upin balmain, so i mean, it wasn't the fashionableplace then that it is now, so. yeah, he worked on the, iknow he worked on the ships,
i know he was highly regarded. he was pretty tough, i know that. - also, i'm rememberingat this point he was still going by his birth name ofmelville peter schnitzerling, which doesn't sound anythinglike russell 'mad dog' cox. he would've had a toughtime looking after himself, i would imagine. - [tara] forensicpsychologist, stephen barron, believes cox endured a tough childhood,
and had to use everythingat his disposal to survive. - i suspect that russell coxwas brutalized, was punished. i suspect he had a verydifficult, rather challenging, childhood and defendedhimself with the means he had at his disposal. i suspect he dealt with asystem that was unforgiving towards him, and i felt heprobably defended himself with those skills that he had. - somebody who has verystrong intelligence
but not opportunitiesin life, looks for ways to get the advantage that they want. so, i think that he wouldhave been putting all of his energy and smarts intoadvancing himself in life. when he realised that hewasn't going to be able to climb the normal social rungs, he put his attentioninto advancing himself as fast as he could. - after spending time ina string of boy's homes,
peter schnitzerling stepped up to the next level of violent crime, and became an armed robber. and, that's when he transformedhimself into russell cox. armed robbery is a violent crime, there is a risk of havingto kill or be killed. for a young offender,armed robber must have been an intimidating prospect. but, the streets of balmain offered cox
the opportunity to call uponexperienced armed robbers to help him learn the trade. (heavy breathing) - you liked that, did ya? - yeah, i thought that chinese bloke was gonna start somethin. - so did i mate, so did i. i thought he must have a gun or somethin the way he was shiftinaround behind that pot plant.
(drinks water) what a way to start the day, eh? (laughs) - sure beats the shit outta coffee - hey, how come you're so cool? - i'm not man, i'm just buggered. believe me, i love it, i need it. - yeah? - careful mate, you can get hooked on it.
i just can't run aroundit like you at my age. - you old man, eh? - ain't you right. but i love it as much as you do. that's why i keep showing up to do it. - oh fuck, i hope i'mstill lovin it at your age. - i hope you're still around at my age. - well, maybe i'll makeenough to stop havin to do it. - it's really about the money, isn't it?
- well, that's 25 grand there i reckon. - yeah, at least, i reckonit could more like 40. - 40? (laughs) - good days work, but idon't do it for the money. i'd do it even if i was a millionaire. wouldn't you? (ominous music) - like most professional criminals, cox comes from a backgroundof juvenile crime.
in and out of boy's homes, inand out of children's courts, and then later one, in and out of jails. like most criminals, hewould've picked up skills along the way, you know, his institutions. but, he does seem to havehad some natural aptitude for robbing banks. - [tara] armed robberyis a dreadful crime. the victim's suffer from traumaassociated with the terror of the event for the rest of their lives.
for an offender likecox, armed robbery can become more than a way of life. it's the pursuit of the thrill, and it quickly becomes addictive. chopper read has never been a bank robber, but he has found himselfin similar situations. it's the feeling that, youtell people what to do, and you see em doin it. it's good.
you take the money, it'sgood, it's a good feeling. it's a magic feeling, youwalk in there with a gun, you say, "get on theground," and thirty people are gettin on the ground. oh, that's good, (laughs)gee it's marvelous. when you got a gun inyour hand, look at that, they're all gettin onthe ground, that's good. where's the money now? you know, it' good.
- armed robbers talk about the addictive quality of armed robbery, describe it as a drug like experienced rush. - you liked that did you? - one can only speculatewhat causes that rush, whether it's about power,whether it's about the danger, the risk of going into a bank or facing an armed security guard,not knowing whether you're gonna get out of there or not.
it's obviously life endangering behavior. the personalities thatpeople get involved in crime, quite often what they are is we call them sensation seeking or risk taking. they have low levels of natural arousal and what they need issomething that's going to give them a buzz. so crime, particularly crime that's risky, crime that's dangerous,or crime that also has
good or big payoffstends to be quite buzzy. it does, it raises the adrenaline. and, to that end, itmeets a psychological need that they've got, which isto be sensation seeking, to be risk taking. so, it is the buzz that,in part, is the payoff for doing the action. - you see criminalscommitting armed robberies when they don't necessarilyneed to financially.
you take someone like neddysmith, who is in the 80's making millions of dollarsdistributing heroin. none the less felt the needto knock over armored trucks for the thrill of it. - i said, don't move, stay where you are! - [tara] police believe that melville peter schnitzerling,now named russell cox, was involved in a string ofarmed robberies in sydney. as a result, he became known as 'mad dog'.
many people believe melbournejournalist, john silvester is responsible for thenickname, but roger rogerson thinks otherwise. - we had two or three senior detectives that were, had been serving for years, a lot, lot senior than me,but they were very clever at coming up with colorful names. and, i'm positive that one of these guys had named russell cox, 'mad dog'.
and of course, whether russell cox was as mad as what thisguy thought he was, i don't know, i don't really know. i know he was a tough boy, a tough man. - he more of done violent thingsin difficult circumstances. i'm not saying he shouldn't have been in jail for a lengthytime, or paid the price for what he did. but, he wasn't known amongstthe police or amongst
the criminal circle as 'mad dog' cox. he wasn't a mad dog. that was just someone's headline. someone made it a headline in the media, and they gave it to him. - i got absolutely no idea howhe became known as 'mad dog'. i've never heard anothercriminal refer to him as that. of course, russell coxis not his real name. our inquiries in those yearsindicated that his correct name
was in fact peter schnitzerling,but of course he abandoned that for reasons best know of himself. probably to protect his family. - certainly the whole mad dog appellation would seem to be admitted,to be media silliness. the man was clearly the opposite of mad, and definitely not a dog. cautious, careful,calm, calculating fellow who was nonetheless prone togross acts of criminality.
- from the moment he took up the gun, peter schnitzerling was no more. he was now russell 'mad dog' cox. after the break, the armedrobber becomes escape artist, with an audacious prisonescape, and we examine his life on the run with the woman who would be at his sidefor the rest of his life. - how do we know theydidn't follow us here? - darlin, it's been a week and a half.
i'm thinkin we would'veheard something by now if they knew where we were. and, russell cox,australia's most wanted man. after dropping the namemelville peter schnitzerling, it's believed that russellcox was responsible for a string of payroll robberies in sydney's industrialsouth western suburbs. and, a raid on a commonwealth bank in marrickville where they took 30 thousand pounds.
the spate of armed robberies were finally brought to an end when cox was charged with a payroll hold up atan electrical goods factory and sentenced to 14 years in jail. at a very early stagein his incarceration, cox decided he was notgoing to serve his time. he spent every wakingmoment plotting escape. in 1975, cox and two others, marko motric and allan mcdougall attempted to escape
from long bay prison byholding a guard hostage, stealing guns from the prison arsenal, and heading for the main gate. - so, the three of these guys were all in the center jail at long bay, the mip. - cox has had a beretta pistolsmuggled into the prison, along with motric and mcdougall. he's used that pistol tooverpower several guards at the main gate.
- they got him into theenclosure between the front door of the jail, thefront gate, and the second gate. and, they force, theprison officer in charge of the guns to open thetank, and then got access to some .38 revolvers. - forced them into a room and then hijacked a five ton truck,taken another prison officer hostage. - well they stuck a gun inhis neck and, of course,
forced the other guard toopen the gate, the main gate. - by this time, officersfrom other parts of the jail are shooting at them,cox is shooting back. during the exchange ofgunfire, prison officers hit motric's hit, and cox is hit. when they get to themain gate, a bread van coming into the prisoncollides with the truck. the three inmates leave the truck, again using this prisonofficer as a hostage
and a human shield, and,they're eventually overpowered. - [tara] one of the guardsheld at gunpoint by cox, steve tandy, relived his terrifying ordeal in an abc tv interview in 2004. - i was enforced to the floorand the gate office area. gun was eventually putat the back of my head. i was ordered to face the ground. - [interviewer] and,what thoughts were going through your mind?
- well, i was of theopinion that myself or other colleagues would be shot. - [tara] cox and one of hisaccomplices, marko motric, were wounded during the escape. prison authorities were slowto provide medical treatment and this caused uproar amongst the general prison population. - word the era, predicament, quickly spread throughoutthe long bay complex
and there were apparentlythreats of major rioting if they were not given treatments for what were fairly serious injuries. - so, all of long baythreatened to riot or jack up unless they give em medical assistance, and i got in they were like,the doctor say to see em, i said, yeah, they gottagive em medical assistance, you can't just shoot peopleand then just fry em in here. and so, they saved their lives.
- cox was convicted ofa string of offenses, including the attemptedmurder on the prison guard and the attempted escape. he had a further nine yearsadded to his sentence. russell cox was not the sortof man to languish in his cell for 14 years. he pulled off the impossible,and escaped from katingal. cox was now anembarrassment to politicians who declared katingal inescapable.
cox had begun his life on the run. he hooked up with youngnurse, helen eva deane, and the two quickly fell in love. tough nuts imagines what lifemight have been like for cox, as his years on the run went on and on. - shit, i need some sleep,this place is drivin me nuts. - shh, might not be the police. - great, yeah, yeah, course it won't. how the bloody hell would you know?
- well why would it be? - why wouldn't it be? you saw the bloody news tonight, they said they were closing in. - yeah, but what are theygonna say, we've got no idea? - they said i was spotted in melbourne. - which is far away from here. - so, how do we know theydidn't follow us here. - darlin, it's been a week and a half,
i reckon we would've heard soemthin by now - no. i got a bad feeling, come on, we're going. - it's 11:30 p.m. where are we gonna go? - i don't know, mildura, broken hill? - okay great, let's do it. but, before we do it, weneed to get some sleep. - no, come on, we're going.
i can't stay here another second. - russell cox seems tohave met helen deane about a year after hisescape from katingal. her background, despitebeing related to ray bennett, the very serious melbourne crook, seems to have been very middleclass, very respectable, she certainly had far more opportunities in her life than cox. they entered into a relationshipthat they maintained
essentially for the 11 or soyears that cox was on the run. there's every chance that shedid not know for some years exactly who she was shacked up with, and when she did learn that, must've come as a hell of a shock. up to that point, it'd bevery hard for any bloke to explain why they'redisappearing for days on end, and you know, you'renot meeting mom and dad. - [tara] forensic psychologistjanet hall believes
that despite living on therun, normal relationship rules applied to cox and deane. - i think there's been quitea few women who fall in love with criminals, just asmany women fall in love with ordinary men who are notnecessarily winning in life because women fall in lovewith the man's potential. but, i think that if in this case, that helen has stayed by herman through thick and thin, he must be rewarding herwith not just attachment,
but with affection and love, you know. and, for a length oftime like that, you know, she would have mostly havehad good experiences with him. so, she probably saw withinhim, the man that could be trained, that could be educated, and would be a reliableand loving companion. - it really is one ofthe great love stories of australian criminal history. - cox did whatever ittook to stay out of jail.
if cornered, he would doanything to retain his freedom and remain close tohis lover, helen deane. cox was heavily armed atall times while on the run, and he became a master ofdisguise to allude the law. - [narrator] he's also regarded by police as potentially the mostdangerous prison ever to escape. his escape from katingalmade him a walking headline, sightings everywhere from darwin to perth were reported in the papers.
the police pursued leadsbut came up with nothing life on the run was expensive, and with no legitimateway of earning money, cox returned to armed robberies. including a massive armored vanhold up in brisbane in 1982. the job put him back on the police radar. new south wales policereceived information that cox was living on a farm in anorthern part of the state. cox was sighted during surveillance,
but when police moved in,cox had vanished again. - the closest we got to getting him, was up near murwillumbah, and we just had information that he was on a farm there. and, i took a team of guys up there, including some reallysmart surveillance guys, and we were quite satisfiedthat he was at this particular property. - which was furtherhelped by the fact that i,
former member of the victorian place who ran a business in thearea, had delivered items to this house and he confirmedto us that he had sighted cox sitting on a tractor atthis particular property. - we liaised with the localpolice over that night and the next morning, nowwhether someone amongst those other police officerssaid something stupidly and someone picked it up in the town, by the time we got out tothat farm the next day,
he was no longer there. - by the time we put ajob together and went in, unfortunately cox had movedon because he was never one to stay in one place for too long. - i'd say that he gotwind of us being there and shot through. now, that was like isaid close to queensland, across from murwillumbah, and that's where he originally came from.
- according to our inquiries,russell cox moved effortlessly across state bordersfrom far north queensland to northern new south wales, and regularly down to melbourne, remainingone step ahead of the police. always brazen, cox wasrumored to have registered for the dole, and may havereceived unemployment benefits, for at least part ofhis decade on the run. - it's very, very cheeky behavior but, i understand that coxwas able to apply for
successfully unemployment benefits. this was a time whengovernment departments weren't as keen to share information. so, while it's unlikely thatcox was putting in tax returns, it's very likely thathe was getting the dole. - for all his notoriety,few people knew what cox actually looked like. the newspapers acrossaustralia published his photo on their front pages,but these mugshots bore
little resemblance to hisappearance while on the run. russell cox was a master of disguise. - [narrator] russellcox is the first prison ever to escape fromkatingal, the new maximum security section here at long bay jail. - he's a very, very violent man, and uh, he's a person whowe believe is very involved in some very vicious criminal activities. plus, he's a master ofdisguise, and can alter
his appearance at will. he's know to havestudied theatrical makeup and can use wigs and glassesto hide his true physicality. despite a very wide police search, he hasn't been seen since. - if you take any of theknown pictures of cox, there's nothing particularly physically striking about him to start with. he's also been able to changethat very ordinary appearance,
sometimes with basic thingslike different haircuts, different facial hair, spectacles. there's also evidence thathe did spend some time studying or learning the art of disguise. you look at some of thematerial that was found at mount martha after he shot ian carroll, and that would suggestthat he did spend some time preparing disguises. - the only time that i'veseen russell cox in the flesh
was sitting in the dock for courtroom, and when you look atsome of his photographs and some of the identicates,and what other people have told us, he had a remarkable ability like 'jockey' smith, tochange his appearance by dying his hair, wigs,mustaches, gain weight, lose weight, that sort of thing. - it's an over usedphrase, master of disguise, but it does seem appropriatewhen used to refer
to cox to stay unrecognizedfor 11 years on the run is pretty extraordinary. - [tara] according toforensic psychologist bob montgomery, cox'sability to disguise himself shows the strength of his personality. - yeah, he's not changing his persona, he's showing how clever he is. look at me, i can walk past the coppers. i can thumb my nose, i canbe right under their nose,
and i'm so clever at disguising who i am, they won't see me, they won't catch me. it's really reinforcingthat grandiosity element of his personality, it'sconstant, and it's just look how successful i am attricking people, at escaping. - you ever talk to womenwho put make up on, they change the way they look, doesn't diminish their identity,it gives them more options. much the same way disguiseswill do the same thing for him.
it gives him option to be who he is, but i wouldn't imaginethat it alters very much, his core sense of self. his core sense of selfmay be i'm successful at eluding capture, this is how i do it, so it promotes his identityrather than diluting it. - as a master of disguise,russell cox could blend in to any suburb or country town. when we return, cox engagesin a fight to the death
with one of his criminal accomplices. - he's a master of disguise. that's what they say here. he could be right under the copper's nose and they wouldn't know. - some of those coppers aren't too bright. welcome back to tough nuts,australia's hardest criminals. as much as a man on the runcan be said to settle down, cox found a home life withhis partner helen deane.
cox and dean set up theirhideout in plain view, a suburban home in mountmartha in melbourne south. the home was owned by melbournearmed robber ian carroll. the environment was safer for cox. in sydney, criminals andpolice frequently met and did business, but inmelbourne the battle lines were hard drawn betweenthe crooks and the cops. cops used melbourne'scriminal elite to assist in his armed robberies.
his lover deane, was sister-in-lawto ray chuck bennett, and bennett was happy tointroduce cox around to his fellow armed robbers, including ian carroll. carroll and cox had aspectacular falling out in the mount martha hideout. shots were fired by both men. cox sustained a bullet wound to his thigh, but carroll was less fortunate. he was shot twice and died.
- ian revell carroll was one of the most, one of the busiest armedrobbers in melbourne. he was into everythingthat opened and shut, he had a ton of dash. - january 1983, coxturns up at mount martha at a house occupied by ian carroll, former great bookie robberand a very serious crime. it appears that that house was, and it's a very plain suburban home,
but was being used as a hideout by cox. - they were probably twoof the best armed robbers and best planners of armed robberies that we've seen for a long time. - they've become involved in an argument which leads to gunfire,both of them are shot, cox shoots carroll dead. - [narrator] russell coxmade headlines in 1977, by becoming the only manever to escape from the
supposedly escape proof katingal, high security unit at long bay jail. he's wanted for questioningabout the murder in january of melbourne painterand docker, ian carroll, at this house in mount marthaat the mornington peninsula. a large cache of weaponswas found a the house. one of the biggest illegal gunhauls ever made in victoria. - police who've searched thatproperty, as well as finding carroll's body, had foundeverything that a busy
armed robber could possibly need. - in the ceiling was this,virtually cabin trunk that's full of equipment just in case they did march on moscow,and things for a crook. - handguns, shotguns, assaultrifles, submachine guns, balaclavas, boiler suits,security guard uniforms, safes presumably topractice on, lists of police radio frequencies, printedmatter about disguises, wig making, theatrical cosmetics,
veritable findings for bank robbers. - [tara] after his recapture,russell cox was charged with the murder of ian carroll. but they charge didn't even make it past committal proceedings and was dismissed. there wasn't any evidence to substantiate putting him on trial for murder. police believed thatcox's lover, helen deane, used her nursing skills to save cox's life
after he was shot bycarroll, possibly removing the bullet in the house in mount martha. - argh. ah, jeez. that fuckin prick carroll. after everything i've done for him, and he pulls a fucking gun on me. - just gonna have tobite the bullet aren't i? - well you have to get it out first.
- [helen] stay still. - ow. just hurry up. (groans) - all right. (russel moans) oh, i got it! that's your problem right there. (foreboding music) - it's still warm.
- wait, don't jump the gun. i'm gonna sew you up. - knit one, purl one. (groans) - he had a lady there with himwho was a registered nurse, they had a cabin trunk full of equipment for anybody that wasshot, stabbed, bashed, or any physical violencethat could've been treated. there was an injection type of doing,
so he just had everything,a complete set of all matter, walk aroundhospital kit there. - helen deane was a trained nurse, and was apparently able to goabove and beyond those skills, removing the bullet from cox's leg and providing him with allthe treatment he needed. apparently, he was up andliterally running the next day. - after the shootout with ian carroll, nurse deane tended to cox's wounds.
cox didn't waste time recuperating. within a day of being shot,he returned to his regular morning jog, again in plain sight. in melbourne, russellcox was able to blend in. people saw him jogging the streets, yet they had no idea theperson were looking at was australia's most wanted man. (birds tweeting) - just a cappuccino thanks, mecca.
- what? - cappuccino, thanks man. - okay jimmy. so what about this cox bloke, eh? - who's that? - you haven't heard? russell cox, the 'mad dog'. coppers haven't got aclue, he's been running now for seven years, ever sincehe escaped from that slammer
in sydney. - no, i don't know mecca, what slammer? - katingal, in sydney? they build this jail thatyou can't break out of, and he breaks out. unbelievable. - how'd he do it? - nobody knows, but he did it. three years it was open,and they close it down.
he's been on the run now for seven years. - well, maybe he just got lucky. - ha ha, it's not about luck jimmy. this bloke's good, he'sa master of disguise. - yeah well, some of thosecoppers aren't too bright. - that's true. most coppers wouldn't knowif a tram was up their ass until a passenger range the bell, huh? you know, he must be pretty fit, yeah?
it says here he ran for four miles. the coppers didn't even get close. - maybe he's a jogger. - i reckon you'll give him arun for his money, eh jimmy? it's a good thing they didn't catch him. this bloke would doanything if he was cornered. he's not the sort of bloketo be worried about giving the coppers a bit of curry. never corner a mad dog.
- yeah.- hm. - i best push off, howmuch for the coffee. - ah, don't worry about it, on the house. - cheers, mecca. must be my lucky day. - despite being wanted by the police in at least threestates, cox has described his life on the run asbeing relatively normal. he's in a stable relationship,he's in sometime employment,
he's also robbing banks. it was only those times whenhe was conscious of police being in the streets orhe thought he was perhaps being followed, that he wasbrought back to the reality that he was a fugitive, adangerous man on the run. - it's very hard to bea successful criminal if you have a strong sense of dread. i think that one of thepremier requirements to be a successful criminalis not to feel anxiety.
i mean, i think that's oneof the classic kinds of diagnostic symptoms, that peoplewho are successful in crime are antisocial, actuallyhave an absence of anxiety. so, i don't see that that is unsurprising. it would be more surprisinghad he experienced dread than if he hadn't. - no one would be able to live, just to live 11 years to beconstantly on edge like that. it makes a certain amountof sense that he was able
to feel relativelyrelaxed a lot of the time that he was on the run. - [tara] while the type of life cox lead while on the run seemsdifficult to fathom, he seems to have chosena path that was as close to a normal everyday life as was possible. - well, why wouldn't hewant to have a normal life, i mean, that's all partand parcel of the disguise he show as well.
you have a normal life, butyou know deep down who you are. it's all part of a game. he would've accepted a wholerange of other behaviors as being okay for him. so, he had have an intuitive sense of what normal people did, but he would also know that he was quite different because he was antisocial and good at it. - that said, cox was obviouslyalways ready to react
if he thought he had beenrecognized and faced arrest. - the killing of iancarroll, shook cox and deane to the core. their hideout was no lonersafe and they found themselves living off their wits. with money running out, coxundertook riskier robberies, and associated with criminalshe would've normally avoided. when we return,australia's most wanted man for 11 long years,finally returns to jail.
- bull! - i swear, i've never introduced myself to anyone as the fox. that's what other people call me. - it's a cool nickname but... in 1988, his luck finally ran out. he was arrested in a shootoutwith police in the car park of doncaster shoppingtown,a shopping center in melbourne's eastern suburbs.
cox was in the company of raymond denning, a violent armed robber anda fellow prison escapee. a security guard had noticed the two men sitting in their carbehaving suspiciously. a huge payroll delivery was due, and cox and denning had plannedto take it at gun point. the police were calledand arrived in force. denning jumped from thevehicle with his hands up, but cox would not go so quietly.
he attempted to flee and drovehis care directly at police. police fired at thevehicle and peppered it with fullbore shot. cox crashed his car. at first, the police had noidea that they had captured australia's most wanted man. as cox got out of the car at gunpoint, he told police, "you blokes won't believe "who you've caught today."
the police couldn't believe their luck. they took cox back to the police station, and even had photographs taken with him, with their arms around him. for the first time in 11 years, russell cox was back in custody. - [narrator] the two prize captures, criminals cox and denning,were taken into custody just before two o'clock this afternoon.
police had responded toa tip that people wearing balaclavas had been seen in two cars. they were following anarmored cash delivery van. they intercepted denning's car and found two sawed off .22 rifles and balaclavas. but cox, after seeing the police, tried to escape though the car park. a policeman armed with a shotgun fired three shots at cox's car,shattering the wind screen,
and hittin the door and boot. cox then lost control of the car, colliding with a brick wall. it was only after cox wastaken to cib headquarters that police realized thesignificance of the arrest. - russell cox had beenon the run for 10 years, eight months, 19 dayswithout anyone being able to track him down. ray denning did it in a week.
- detective sergeant ron pickering who arrested schnitzerling, said, "part of the prosecutioncase would involve evidence "from raymond john denning." the court was told denninghad sought and been given an indemnity against prosecutionfor crimes he committed in queensland, in returnfor evidence he would give in this case. - there have been claimsthat denning's escape from
goulburn prison had beenallowed by authorities in the hope that denningwould lead them to cox. police refute this, andacknowledge that cox's recapture in melbourne was a fluke. - some people will tell youthat they're almost relieved when they get caught,because that gives them the opportunity to make a changethat they can't make otherwise. one of the things thatoften happens though, as you get older, you lose the fire.
you get tired of all therunning around, you burn out of those risk taking, sensationseeking kinds of behaviors. the other thing about it,which might be also important for someone such as he,is that he has a long term committed relationship thathe might want to sustain and some recognition thatit's as hard to sustain that if he's always in jail. - russell cox was charged witha string of armed robberies, but he was acquitted onthe murder of ian carroll
after a melbourne magistrateruled that it was not clear who shot first. his partner, helen deane, went to prison for six months after being caught outside the courtroom with apen gun in her hand bag. cox served time for mayof his armed robberies. first in victoria, then queensland, and finally in new south wales. in all, cox would serve16 more years in prison.
in jail, the former escapologistbecame a model prisoner and actively mentored young offenders. russell cox did not want these young men to follow his path. - [young man] good day. - russell cox. - yeah, i know what your name is. - what's yours? - uh, jacob.
- that's all? - yeah, i don't have a nickname. - nickname? - yeah, i don't haveone yet, but i want one. - oh yeah? - yeah, of course. - have a seat, jacob. why do you want a nickname? - well, you know, you're 'the fox' right?
everyone knows you're 'the fox'. people know who you are. - you reckon? - [jacob] yeah. - i've never called myself the fox. - i swear, i've neverintroduced myself to anyone as the fox, it's whatother people call me. - yeah, it's a cool nickname, but. - yeah, you know, like you're cunning.
you're smart. everyone respects ya. - thank man. hey, you want a cup of tea? - how old are you, man? - 19. - how old do you reckon i am? - um, about 50 or somethin? - close enough.
you know when they first put me in here, you were busy growinyour first set of teeth. so, how smart and cunning am i? - yeah but, i mean people respect ya. - not everyone. only the fuckwits in here. and, there's not a lot of competition. do you want to die in jail? (forlorn music)
- from cox's arrest in 1988until his eventual parole in 2004, he appears to have beenthe classic model prisoner. he's decided that he'sgonna have to do this time. cox would've been respected regardless by fellow inmates, but he seemsto have used that notoriety to try to convince younger prisoners that there was no futurein pursuing a life of crime and there was no pointspending your life in jail. - in making it'sdecision, the parole board
who had evidence that russell cox had been a keen participant in prisonprograms to deter young offenders from a life of crime. according to the board,in the case of the inmate russell cox, there is powerfulevidence that he is intent on leading normal lawful community life. - paying back, was a phrase used. he's paying back he's giving back so that there is some kind ofmeaningfulness to what
he's done in the pastthat he can give back to the community, that willprevent or make better, some of the things that he has done. - you know when they first put me in here, so how smart and cunning am i? - i think it's a fantastic result that cox was able to beeducated and find a compassion, particularly through the youth program. and that indicates to me,that he was not the sociopath
that could not haveempathy with anybody else, but that once he finallyhad no where else to go that he could relate topeople, that he could live a life where he followedsocieties expectations, and indeed to his credit,i believe he's doing that. - blokes like that, in my view, if they're given opportunities, are going to be able to makesomething of themselves. i don't think i know anyonethat really wants a life
where you're constantly onthe, looking over your shoulder wondering whether you're gonna be alive in five minutes time, it'sa dog's life, you know. and, i couldn't say that cox wouldn't make something of himself. - [tara] even the guardthat russell cox had held at gunpoint during hisfailed attempt to escape from long bay prison in 1975 believedcox had served his time. - [narrator] as a prisonofficer, stephen tandy knows
what it's like to have agun pointed at his face by an inmate desperate to escape. but, that hasn't stoppedhim pushing for the release of the man who did just thatto him more than 25 years ago. - when, what's termed asmuch as a model prisoner. he's never been a management problem. i think he's a much more matureperson, a much wiser person. - [narrator] authorities say,cox will move to queensland to work as a builder'slaborer and cleaner.
they say, he will be watched closely. - on the eighth of december 2004, russell cox was released from prison. the escapologist had done his time. amazingly, cox could not beconvicted of his masterpiece, his escape from katingal. the authorities had lost his prison file, and when it was firstbuilt, the new south wales government had not taken theproper steps to establish
the legal status of katingal as a prison. a judge ruled that coxcould not have escaped from a jail that did not legally exist. it was the perfect epilogueto the story of russell cox, one time tough nut,and now a reformed man. cox and the love of his life, helen deane, married during his long stretch in prison. they remain together to this day. see you next time on tough nuts,
(banging and clanking)