Kerry Tucker shared a cell with four female killers in one of Australia’s most notorious maximum-security prisons.
There was a fifth woman who was incarcerated in what Tucker refers to as “the cottages” who, at the time, had one of the most recognisable surnames in the country.
The sister-in-law of Tony Mokbel, a drug lord who sat at the top of Australia’s Most Wanted List, Renate was a suburban mother-of-three, jailed for perjury.
But she didn’t come alone.
Her three-year-old son also shared the cell with Tucker, and four female killers.
“He was right where he needed to be,” Tucker told Mamamia, reflecting on her time in Melbourne’s Dame Phyllis Frost maximum-security prison.
“Prisons are safe places for children and babies… the laughing and squealing in the background gave [the prison] a real sense of normality,” 55-year-old Tucker said.
This was not the prison Tucker had ever imagined.
In the month before Kerry Tucker entered, she decided there was something she urgently needed to do: Work out at the gym every day.
"I have no idea why," she said, stifling a chuckle.
Did she expect her time in prison would be spent physically defending herself against violent murderers? Possibly.
That her strength might place her higher on the prison hierarchy - signalling to other inmates that she was not a woman to be messed with? Probably.
But the make-believe prison that Tucker had conjured up bore no resemblance to the compound she entered in 2004, after being charged with one of the biggest white-collar crimes ever committed by a woman in Australia's history.