Notorious corrupt cop Roger ‘The Dodger’ Rogerson dead

Duncan Murray |

Known as “The Dodger”, the controversial tough cop turned killer Roger Rogerson has died.
Known as “The Dodger”, the controversial tough cop turned killer Roger Rogerson has died.

Disgraced former police officer Roger Rogerson has died in hospital aged 83.

Known as “The Dodger”, the controversial and charismatic tough cop turned convicted killer was moved from Long Bay prison to Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital on Thursday as he received end-of-life care.

He was pronounced dead about 11.15pm on Sunday.

Both hero and villain during his 28-year police career, Rogerson was at one time the NSW force’s most decorated officer, with a stellar career catching criminals and a formidable reputation for bravery.

That was before his close connections to some of Sydney’s most hardened crooks were exposed, eventually destroying his reputation, career and freedom.

At the end, Rogerson was serving a life sentence for the execution-style 2014 murder of drug dealer Jamie Gao.

Following his death, the 83-year-old’s biographers described him as a charming but “cold-blooded” operator.

Former officer turned crime writer Duncan McNab said it was only when he asked Rogerson about the unsolved murder of Sallie-Anne Huckstepp – in which the crooked detective was said to be involved – that the “bravado just dropped”.

“You could see what a cold, cruel bastard he really was,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“Roger was pretty much Teflon-coated throughout the 80s.

“It wasn’t until he was caught on tape for the first time talking with a couple of other crooks about a large amount of money that he was trying to hide that he eventually went to jail for perjury.”

Roger Rogerson (C), Mark
Rogerson (centre) received a police award in 1980 but within six years his career had unravelled. (Rob Hutchison/AAP PHOTOS)

Rogerson and his co-accused, former detective Glen McNamara, were jailed for life in 2016 after murdering Gao at a Sydney storage unit in May 2014 and dumping his body at sea. 

Both of the men ran cut-throat defences at trial, arguing the other had shot Gao.

They were also jailed for stealing 2.78kg of methamphetamine with a street value of up to $19 million from the 20-year-old university student.

Crime writer Andrew Rule said ultimately Rogerson was a self-interested and calculating individual.

“He had a persona of charm, he had the jokes, he had the polite manners, he had the shiny shoes, neatly ironed shirt, as you would expect a retired policeman to be,” Mr Rule told ABC TV.

“And yet underneath that was this very steely, hard man and I always knew that underneath you would not want to be someone in his grasp.”

In March, the High Court rejected an appeal by Rogerson to have his murder conviction overturned, stamping out any hope the rogue detective had of being released.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said he was not going to “speak ill of the dead”, but Rogerson had lived a life of dishonour to the state’s police force.

At the height of his public recognition, in 1980, Rogerson received the coveted Peter Mitchell Award for outstanding police work but within six years his career would spectacularly unravel.

In 1986, Rogerson was dismissed from the police force for depositing $110,000 in bank accounts under a false name. 

Earlier that decade, in 1981, he had been found responsible for the fatal shooting of another young drug dealer, Warren Lanfranchi, but controversially was deemed to have acted in the line of duty.

Lanfranchi’s girlfriend, Ms Huckstepp, said Rogerson murdered him over a drug-related dispute involving corrupt police. 

She was later found strangled and drowned in a Centennial Park lake.

Rogerson was also implicated in the attempted execution of NSW undercover officer Michael Drury after the similarly decorated drug squad detective declined to accept a bribe in exchange for evidence tampering in a heroin-trafficking trial.

Drury was shot twice through his kitchen window on Sydney’s north shore, while Rogerson was charged but eventually acquitted of the attack.

AAP