Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Fixer: The Rise and Fall of Australian Drug Lord Robert Trimbole

A Bigger Conspiracy

As a co-conspirator in the Mackay disappearance and alleged murder, Bazley was sentenced to nine years in prison and four years for the theft of $260,000 from the security van. He was also found guilty of murdering the Wilsons and given a life sentence.

He appealed against the murder convictions in 1986 but the appeal was subsequently dismissed.

In an interview with Tom Prior from the Sydney Sun newspaper in 1987, Bazley denied the charges saying: "I didn't kill Mackay and I didn't kill the Wilsons.

He told Prior that the charges against him were ludicrous and listed the reasons why. The first was in regards to the relatively low sums he was allegedly paid to kill Mackay and the Wilsons. I had $130,000 in December 1978, (his share of the proceeds from the van robbery) he told Prior. Even the police know that. And three months later I'm supposed to be accepting $20,000 from a man I didn't like (Tizzone) to 'off' (kill) two people I didn't know, one of them a woman. If it wasn't so serious, it would be laughable. Talk about a bargain-basement job! And this is supposed to be people representing Terence Clark, the Mr. Asia drug boss who paid $250,000 for tapes of what the Wilsons said to the Queensland police!

Asked about his association with convicted co-conspirator George Joseph he said, I knew George for about 20 years and we got on fairly well. Police and security men used to hang around his gunshop and they'd talk about the job. He passed on a lot of good leads me. You could say were in business together, although I was never one of the 'cowboys' standing around, feeling tall and important because of the guns in their holsters.

George was all right, except he got a bit greedy and then, when it got down to the basics, he was weak. He cracked wide open when they put him in Jika (jail) and told him he might have to stay there for the rest of his life.

"You might find it hard to believe, but there were times I felt sorry for George when he was in the witness box at the Supreme Court telling lies about me. He'd have sworn anything to stay out of Jika; he'd have sworn his children's lives away, let alone mine.

Asked about Tizzone he answered: I only met Tizzone twice, but I disliked and distrusted him on sight. George Joseph introduced us and Tizzone said he was looking for a man to look after the Melbourne end of the Griffith drug trade. By look after he meant protect; there was no suggestion that I'd have anything to do with running or selling the drugs, marijuana it was mainly, rather that I'd see that nobody knocked off the proceeds and that none of the underlings became too ambitious. Tizzone was a flashy, arrogant, talkative man, not my style at all, and I was dead set against drugs anyway.

Lillian (Bazleys wife) and I have children and grandchildren to think of and I have given them enough to worry about already, without helping flood Melbourne with poison. That's why it is just not on that I would kill a man like Donald Mackay for any amount of money.

He told Prior that he had originally refused the offer but later reconsidered at the urging of George Joseph and had a second meeting at Tizzones home.

George was talking incredible sums of money, millions, he said. I wouldn't have to deal with Tizzone, he said, that would be his responsibility. My job would simply be to see that nobody else interfered. Tizzone greeted us as old friends, sat us down in his lounge room and insisted on giving us big drinks of whisky in cut crystal glasses. Then he started talking non-stop, dropping names and huge sums of money all over the place. It was incredible. He told us practically the whole Griffith operation from start to finish, naming names! If ever there was a chance of me joining in, that ended it then and there. If ever there was a man capable of talking himself, and anyone close to him, to death, it was Tizzone. I'm not the loner I'm said to be in the newspapers. I'm very close to my family and I have some good friends I trust.

But the less people who know what you are doing, particularly when you are doing something wrong, the better.

Tizzone was a boaster and a blabber-mouth. He was practically tailor-made for the police and I wanted nothing to do with him.

I told George Joseph he was crazy; that Tizzone would put his family, and 'The Family', before anyone else, that you couldn't trust people who talked a language you couldn't understand in front of you.

Prior then asked about George Joseph testifying that he had sold Bazley the .22 caliber pistol used in the van robbery and later allegedly used to kill Mackay and the Wilsons.

I was an armed robber, a professional," Bazley told him. I doubt I can remember all the times I have carried a gun over the years. Picking up a new pistol was as easy as walking down the street. And I am supposed to have used the same one for more than two years, the one used in one of the hottest murders in recent Australian history! It would be farcical if it wasn't so serious for me. Even the greenest rookie policemen would know that the professional criminal uses 'clean' guns. They get rid of the dirty one as soon as they have used it, in case they are caught the next time and it implicates them in previous crimes.

Whoever killed Donald Mackay would have got rid of the gun immediately. Like the body, it will never be found. I wish it would be.

When Prior asked why he thought he was the one fitted for the murders Bazley answered: I was a criminal, a wanted man on the run; I stayed out of public places and stuck to my family and few friends. I wouldn't have any independent alibis, Tizzone didn't like me, and vice-versa, and George Joseph was desperate to stay out of Jika. Also possibly George and Tizzone, maybe even other members of 'the Family', were afraid of me. I have done some desperate things in my time but I didn't murder those three people. I'll stake my soul on that.

When asked who did, Bazley quickly answered: Detective-Sergeant Fred Krahe of the Sydney police killed Donald Mackay. Next to Ray Kelly, Krahe was the most dangerous policeman in NSW - and that's saying something. He was in Griffith the night Donald Mackay disappeared and he was the one who first started the rumors about Mackay running off with a woman. He was tied up with the Griffith drug people, and others, and he was well known to be available for killings if you could afford the price.

Allison Dine, Terence Clark's girlfriend, gave evidence on oath that he was prepared to pay $250,000 to have Douglas and Isabel Wilson killed. Who do you think 'the Family' would have employed, Krahe or me?

Who do you think would have been safer from arrest by the NSW police and resulting embarrassment to his employers?

Why do you think that there was such a high-level police and political cover-up of what had happened in Griffith? "The dogs have been barking for years that a NSW policeman killed Donald Mackay.

That policeman was Fred Krahe.

When asked who killed the Wilsons Bazley answered: "I don't know but Robert Trimbole made a couple of visits to Melbourne in connection with them and he had some heavy company. And they knew the area in Rye where the bodies were found at least as well as I do.

Fred Krahe later resigned from the New South Wales police on medical grounds just prior to another royal commission into police corruption. He died several years later of natural causes.

On February 2, 2001, The Herald Sun reported that James Frederick Bazley is free after being secretly released early from a central Victorian jail.

At age 75, Bazley was released form Loddon prison after serving 15 years for his alleged role in the murder of Donald MacKay and Douglas and Isabel Wilson. When approached by reporters and asked about his early release the normally chatty Bazley refused to say a word.

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