A senior policeman ‘never made the link’ between cop killer Ricky Maddison and earlier reports of automatic gunfire in the Lockyer Valley.
A senior policeman ‘never made the link’ between cop killer Ricky Maddison and earlier reports of automatic gunfire in the Lockyer Valley.

Police didn’t link cop killer with machine gun fire

The team leader of the squad hunting for paranoid gunman Ricky Maddison said he "never made the link" between reports of machine gun fire on the edge of the Lockyer National Park despite the park being a "specific target area" of their search.

Sergeant Dan Curtain is giving evidence at the inquest into the murder of Senior Constable Brett Forte and the death of gunman Ricky Maddison in 2017.

He told the court he became aware of an investigation into reports of automatic gunfire in the vicinity of Wallers Rd in the Lockyer Valley on May 22 - a week before Sen Const Forte was killed.

Senior Constable Brett Forte was fatally wounded after pursuing Ricky Maddison in 2017.
Senior Constable Brett Forte was fatally wounded after pursuing Ricky Maddison in 2017.

Three days later, he joined other officers on a patrol through the Lockyer National Park because police thought Maddison might have been living rough in the bush.

"I never made that link," he said, of the suggestion that Maddison may have been behind the gunfire that had been heard in the area since January.

He said police carried a long arm rifle in the car during the patrol, which he said was not uncommon in Toowoomba.

Sen Const Forte was killed on May 29, 2017, by known criminal Ricky Maddison, following a low-speed pursuit at Seventeen Mile in the Lockyer Valley.

The inquest heard Maddison's behaviour had become increasingly erratic in the days leading up to Sen Const Forte's murder, with the gunman having spent two months avoiding an arrest warrant over a domestic violence matter.

The inquest heard Maddison had been calling police in Toowoomba from pay phones, telling them "youse (sic) know where I am" and "I left enough trails".

On the afternoon of May 29, Maddison was spotted in Toowoomba and pursued by several police vehicles down the Warrego Hwy before he veered off the road.

Police followed him along Wallers Rd - a dirt road - where Maddison suddenly got out of his car and opened fire with an assault rifle.

Sen Const Forte was killed and Maddison held specialist SERT officers at bay for 20 hours before they shot and killed him.

Sgt Curtain agreed that Wallers Rd runs through the national park but said they had not linked the gunfire reports with the theory Maddison was hiding there.

Police on Wallers Road where Senior Constable Brett Forte was shot. Picture: Darren England
Police on Wallers Road where Senior Constable Brett Forte was shot. Picture: Darren England

"So five days before Brett was killed, you're looking for Ricky Maddison in the Lockyer National Park," barrister David Funch asked.

"You're advised of reports of automatic gunfire in the Lockyer National Park. That must have caused you some concern?"

"I never made the link," Sgt Curtain said.

The inquest heard another officer in the car that day was Senior Constable Andre Thaler.

Sen Const Thaler, on May 18, had gone for a bush walk on his day off along Wallers Rd with his police QLiTE device and a pair of binoculars.

During his walk, the court heard he was confronted by a bikie associate named Adam Byatt who warned him to be careful because there were "hillbillies" in the hills.

It was later discovered that Byatt and Maddison were friends and Maddison had been at his Wallers Rd property.

Sgt Curtain said police were carrying a rifle in relation to the intelligence they had and said "no" when asked if there was a heightened risk due to reports of automatic gunfire.

A Facebook photo of cop killer Rick Maddison who had taunted police in the weeks before the confrontation with police.
A Facebook photo of cop killer Rick Maddison who had taunted police in the weeks before the confrontation with police.

When asked if Sen Const Thaler had told them that during his walk there was a "veiled threat that he might get shot", Sgt Curtain responded: "He may have, but I don't recall that specifically."

Sen Const Thaler has said it was a coincidence his walk was along Wallers Rd and did not know about the reports of gunfire at that time.

Sgt Curtain agreed with Mr Funch that Sen Const Thaler was "assigned to locate Maddison as soon as possible" around May 18.

Another lawyer representing some of the police officers clarified that Sen Const Thaler would not have become aware of the mission to find Maddison until May 20 when he returned from days off.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Police didn't link cop killer with machine gun fire



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