Who was Roger Rogerson? The rise and fall of Australia’s most crooked cop

Roger Rogerson, once a celebrated figure in the NSW Police Force, evolved into the epitome of police corruption in 1970s and 80s Australia.

This article navigates through the life of ‘The Dodger,’ exploring his early years, notorious involvements with crime figures, and the dramatic downfall that led to his demise.

Early Years and Police Career

Roger Rogerson, Possibly Australia's Most Corrupt Cop, Dead at 83
Roger Rogerson

Born and raised in Bankstown, Sydney, Roger Rogerson exhibited prodigious talent as a pianist before joining the NSW Police Force at 18 in 1958.

Swiftly gaining recognition as a crucial member of the armed hold-up squad, Rogerson received accolades such as the distinguished Peter Mitchell Award in 1980 for arresting an escaped armed robber.

Controversial Incidents and Allegations

Rogerson’s career took a dark turn in 1981 when he shot and killed 22-year-old heroin dealer Warren Lanfranchi. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing in an inquest, questions lingered about the circumstances of the shooting.

Accusations of murder intensified with the death of Lanfranchi’s girlfriend, Sallie-Anne Huckstepp, who implicated Rogerson.

Corruption Allegations and Scandal

Roger Rogerson
Roger Rogerson

In the aftermath of the 1984 shooting of drug squad detective Michael Drury, Rogerson faced serious allegations of orchestrating the hit. Although found not guilty in 1989 of conspiracy to murder, the high-profile case fueled suspicions of widespread corruption within the police service.

Imprisonment and Reinvention

In 1992, Rogerson served his first prison sentence, spending three years for conspiring to pervert the course of justice. Dismissed from the force, he embraced a new role as a raconteur-for-hire, sharing tales of Sydney’s underbelly in theatre comedy shows like ‘The Wild Colonial Psychos.’

The Jamie Gao Murder and Final Conviction

In 2014, Rogerson, alongside fellow former detective Glen McNamara, was convicted of the murder of Jamie Gao, a 20-year-old drug dealer. The case, marked by a trail of damning evidence, led to a life sentence for Rogerson.

Despite multiple unsuccessful appeals, he faced the grim reality of spending the rest of his life behind bars.


What was Roger Rogerson’s early career in law enforcement like?

Rogerson joined the NSW Police Force in 1958, quickly gaining recognition in the armed hold-up squad and receiving awards for his contributions.

What were the key controversies surrounding Rogerson’s career?

Controversies included the shooting of Warren Lanfranchi, allegations of orchestrating the shooting of Michael Drury, and accusations of widespread corruption within the police service.

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