Razor Gangs Revolver Duel Shootout

This story is an excellent example of the effectiveness of the Pistol Licencing Act 1927 which did so much to bring forth the Razor as a weapon in the Razor Gang wars that were just starting to heat up in the Sydney Steets.

On the evening of December 28th, 1931, when a man named Roberts approached a young woman, Renie, on William Street. He said that he wanted her to live with him as a “lady of the night”. The business of “white slavery” was thriving in the area at the time, with young women kidnapped and forced to work the streets for various local gangs. Roberts himself was known to police as a small time underworld figure, under the alias Paddy Reynolds, and for threatening people with a gun or a razor.

Renie just laughed at Roberts, so he drew a revolver, pointed it at her and said: "Either you live with me, or I will shoot you. I will see you here at 6 p.m.” He then jabbed Renie several times with the gun. Renie ran home and told the man she was living with, James White, what had happened. White was a decent man, who made his living “selling dolls and little toys to crowds of happy children at every showground” including each year at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show. When Renie told him what had happened, White said: "I will see the chap that threatened to shoot you."



The couple met Roberts on the corner of Kirketon Road and William Street just after 6pm. It was quite busy, with lots of people around. White confronted Roberts: "What is the idea of pulling a gun on this girl?” Roberts replied, "Mind your own business, or I'll blow your head off."

White didn’t back down… so Roberts stepped out onto William Street and started firing. Terrified men, women and children scurried away for their lives as White ducked behind a pole for cover. He pulled out his own revolver and shot twice at Roberts, who backed away across Williams Street, firing four shots in quick succession; one of these almost hit Renie, who ducked just in time, the shop window above her head smashing into pieces.

Roberts reached the other side of the street. Blood was streaming from his chest and he swayed where he stood. White’s gun had jammed, so a constable took him into custody. He calmly handed the gun over saying, "I have a licence."  Thank goodness for that! On the way to the police station White said: "Fancy these mongrels coming out and victimising women."

Meanwhile, another constable had gone to Roberts, who said: "He got me." Roberts pulled open his coat to reveal a large amount of blood.  He was taken to hospital where he died half an hour later.

Is this licenced or unlicenced?

Is this licenced or unlicenced?

At the trial Renie testified that she had been threatened by shady members of the underworld. On one occasion two of them had forced their way into her flat. “You little copper!” said one. “You don't think you're going to give evidence for White, do you?   If you do, you'll cop something for yourself.”  Despite this, Renie had bravely taken the stand, and White was found not guilty on grounds of self-defence… and in further good news, the timing of his release meant that he was just in time to sell his wares at the Royal Easter Show.

And as for Roberts? Nobody, not even his relatives, said they had any association with him and, after the post mortem was concluded, no one came forward to collect his body.

But most importantly of all, the Pistol Licences Act had done its job because - just for the record - no one in this case was shot by an unlicensed pistol.

If you want to learn more about the Razor Gang Wars then you might be interested in doing the tour sometime.  Or else book in for any of our other tours in Sydney, Newcastle, Maitland and Brisbane.

 

Belanglo – The Ivan Milat Story

For many young tourists in Australia, hitchhiking was once the travel method of choice. It was adventurous, exciting, and perhaps best of all, it was cheap. But in the early 90s, there was a series of killings that struck fear into the hearts of Australia’s travellers, uncovering the most notorious killer the country has ever seen.

Brits Caroline Clark, 21, and Joanna Walters, 22, had met at a backpackers hostel in Sydney in 1992. Both seeking the trip of a lifetime, they’d joined forces for their Australian adventure. They hitch-hiked around the country together, and in April the pair set off towards New South Wales. But when their families didn’t hear from them for a number of weeks, they knew that something had gone terribly wrong. It would be 5 months before their bodies were discovered, buried in the thick terrain of the Belanglo State Forest. Walters had been stabbed 14 times, in an attack so frenzied it had severed her spine, while Clark had been shot 10 times in the head. The find was certainly a horrific one. But it was only the start of the nightmare that was to follow.



Three years earlier, young Australian couple Deborah Everist and James Gibson had also set off on a hitchhiking trip, planning to travel almost 400 miles to a music festival near Albury. Like Carl and Walters, however, they would never return home. In October of 1993, their bodies were discovered in a remote part of Belanglo Forest. Gibson had been stabbed to death, while Everist had been beaten so badly that her jaw was broken; her skull fractured in two places.

That same year, three more victims were found in Belanglo. The first was Simone Schmidl, a 21-year-old German tourist who was last seen in January of 1991. Her body bore the now familiar hallmarks that police had come to expect.  But this time, there was clothing at the scene that didn’t belong to Schmidl - a sinister clue that there were more victims to be found. A few days later, on 4th November 1993, the bodies of Gabor Neugebauer, 21, and Anja Habschied, 20, were discovered in shallow graves. Gabor had been shot in the head, while Anja had been decapitated with a machete or sword. To this day, her skull has never been found.

Now with 7 victims, police were left with the task of finding who had committed these awful crimes. The breakthrough came on 13th November 1993, when police received a call from England. The man on the other end of the phone was 24-year-old Paul Onions, who had been backpacking through Australia 3 years prior. He said that when heading out of Casula, he had hitched a ride with a man named ‘Bill’. After a few hours of driving, ‘Bill’ had started to act strangely. When they were less than 1km from Belanglo Forest, ‘Bill’ pulled the car over, and brought out a gun. Onions fled into the path of oncoming traffic, where he managed to flag down passing motorist Joanne Berry. Together, they sped away from ‘Bill’, and reported the incident to the Bowral police. Around the same time of Onions call, police received another from local woman. She had her suspicions about a gun-loving man from town. The man’s name, she said, was Ivan Milat.

Milat had an extensive criminal record, including arrests for robbery and rape. Not only that, but Milat owned a car similar to the one that Onions and Berry had described, and was known to go by the name of ‘Bill’. It looked as though police had their man.

In the early morning of 22nd May 1994, fifty police raided Milat’s home. Once inside, the evidence was damning. As well as weapons matching those used in the murders, police found cameras, a tent, clothing and sleeping bags belonging to the 7 victims. The first item found - a postcard - was addressed to none other than ‘Bill’. With that, Milat was charged with 7 counts of murder. After numerous delays, including Milat’s dismissal of his own lawyer, he was eventually found guilty on 27th July 1996. He was handed life without the possibility of parole, and spent the next 25 years appealing his sentence.

If Ivan Milat was responsible for any more murder, we’ll likely never know. He passed away on 27th October 2019 following a diagnosis of oesophageal cancer, maintaining his innocence to the bitter end. If Milat had any more secrets, he took them to his grave.

Halloween – A Ghost Story

Ok, we grant you this is a couple of days late, but do please enjoy this 12-minute audio production. Just hit the play button and we are hoping it doesn’t spook you out too much.

The Quantum Ghost of Cape Estelle

This Halloween Dark Story – The Quantum Ghost of Cape Estelle written by Peter Tucker – is late but does come courtesy of our friends at The Online Stage – producers of numerous AudioBook and Theatre Productions. Roughly 50% of their content is absolutely free to enjoy!

10 Very Hard Mystery Riddles

There’s nothing like a murder mystery brain teaser to get you started in the morning. Full disclosure here of course in that we didn’t do so well.

Maybe you’ll be better than us – so please try them out and let us know how you fare in the comments section.

This is far more to our style! Hopefully we’d have no trouble figuring out the guilty party!

What is a Dark Stories Crime Tour in 2019?

People who attend our events whether it be a True Crime Tour, a Theatre Show or even just a Social Night Out often wonder about the company name and what we do?

With a name like Dark Stories then is the company all about scaring the pants off our customers. Not necessarily.

The reason we chose a name like Dark Stories is because we didn’t want to limit ourselves to one specific genre. We’re attracted to the darkness that naturally gets incorporated into out True Crime tours but we were also keen on creating live interactive theatre shows where we really could scare the customers but in a somewhat safe environment.

The True Crime Tours are really aimed for the purist who wants to learn about real life situations that include a twist, then a twist, then another twist and then a huge twist. The stories are all true but have been put through their paces so that each story on tour delivers a unique experience – our true crime tours are a real journey into another world.

Our Dark Stories Theatre Shows take you into a fictional world where anything can happen. Audiences are written into the story so you are not just passively watching the story unfold. You are in the story in which the characters may appeal for your help, you can ask them questions to make sure their story stacks up and yes there might even be the occasional jump scare.

To summarize our regular weekly crime tours could be pinned down to the following questions.

What is a Dark Stories True Crime tour?

A Dark Stories True Crime Tour will give you a great combination of true crime stories at the same time as revisiting the scenes of historical crimes past. You’ll get to enjoy awesome city views and uncover hidden alleyways and locations you never knew existed.

Who are Dark Stories?

Dark Stories is an event company that specialises in delivering city based True Crime Tours. The company also dabbles in delivering live interactive theatre events which include dark themes.

Are Dark Stories Tours scary?

Dark Stories Tours touch on the darker side of the city’s history but their tours do not include jump scares. The stories include all the elements of human nature ranging from light to dark. Each story is unique and completely true. If you’re looking to be scared then book in for a Dark Stories Theatre Show.

Where are the Dark Stories True Crime Tours hosted?

The True Crime Tours run all year round with additional tours running the summer holiday months. Tours are currently running in Newcastle, Sydney and Maitland.