true crime

TRUE CRIME: Sallie-Anne Huckstepp's killer has never been found.

Sallie-Anne Huckstepp is the tragic poster-girl of Australian corruption.

“[Her] father never really understood her”, according to Sallie-Anne’s sister Debra. And their mother? “I don’t think she was a maternal woman at all.”

Her unstable childhood might go some way towards explaining how she ended up in the arms of Kings Cross drug-dealer, Warren Lanfranchi, before his murder

And how she ended up on 60 Minutes, blowing the whistle on the NSW Police force detective she knew to be responsible.

Meshel Laurie and true crime writer Emily Webb unpack the unsolved case of Sallie-Anne Huckstepp, on Australian True Crime. Post continues after audio…

Born Sallie-Anne Krivoshow in 1954, Sallie-Anne left school aged 17, married Bryan Huckstepp, and changed her surname.

She also became a prostitute. Initially, to fund her new husband’s heroin addiction. But within months, it was to fund her own.

“She was a very, very attractive girl”, Debra Krivoshow, Sallie-Anne’s sister, tells Australian True Crime hosts Emily Webb and Meshel Laurie.

Debra goes on, “She would come across very strong in her personality and awareness of herself, but really she was quite fragile… people either really loved her or they didn’t understand her.”

By 1981, Sallie-Anne Huckstepp had left her husband and started a relationship with Warren Lanfranchi, a notorious heroin dealer based in Sydney’s Kings Cross.

In the very same year, however, Lanfranchi was murdered by a former New South Wales Police Force detective-sergeant.

That detective-sergeant was Roger Rogerson; a name now synonymous with serious corruption, and unquantifiable immorality.

Former detective-sergeant Roger Caleb Rogerson. Image via YouTube.
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Rogerson, despite winning the Peter Mitchell Trophy - the most reputable annual Police award - was heavily involved in several of Sydney's overlapping drug spheres.

Lanfranchi was ripping Rogerson off; buying heroin in large quantities, watering it down, and selling it at a higher price, according to crime writer Duncan McNab.

So Rogerson murdered him: proposed a meeting in Chippendale, Sydney, and shot him in cold blood when he arrived. He claimed self-defence.

His then-pregnant girlfriend Sallie-Anne Huckstepp knew it was coming; knew when Lanfranchi left their Eastern Suburbs home that day, that he may not return.

"I kissed him at the door and asked him what time he thought he'd be back," Huckstepp told Ray Martin on 60 Minutes. "He said if he wasn't home by 6 o'clock, I would know he'd been killed."

Image via 9 News.

Her 60 Minutes interview wasn't sole-purposed, though. Huckstepp set out to do far more than recount the events of her partner's death.

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Instead, she intended to expose former detective-sergeant Rogerson for who he truly was.

She'd been watching him through Lanfranchi; he'd changed his persona as if no a dime between Roger Rogerson - the influential druglord, and Roger Rogerson - federally-supported enforcer of justice.

Rogerson didn't think her a threat, at first. Sure, she knew more than she should, but to him? She was a 'no one'... the heroin-addicted girlfriend of a former business partner who overstepped.

Then she went rogue.

Whereas Rogerson deemed Sallie-Anne Huckstepp nothing more than a flimsy, lower-class sex worker - a symbol of Sydney's dependent, drug-addled underbelly - she proved to be much more.

She proved to be his undoing.

"I've been paying the police for ten years," Huckstepp told Ray Martin on 60 minutes in 1981. "My ex-husband was a criminal... I paid the police many times for him."

She goes on, "A lot of police officers are going to be very upset with me."

Huckstepp knew what she was doing; knew that her words were setting in motion a wave that would eventually return to confront her. But she didn't care. She pursued justice.

You can listen to the latest episode of Australian True Crime, here:

"When the Police become judge, jury and executioner, somebody has to speak."

Duncan McNab, author of The Dodger (2006) and Roger Rogerson (2016), recalls the effect of Huckstepp's 60 Minutes interview:

"She was articulate, she was bright, she was on the front foot... exactly what Roger had not expected", he tells Meshel Laurie on Australian True Crime. 

Five years later, Huckstepp was dead.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, she was in her Edgecliff apartment on February 6 1986, when at 10:55pm, she received a phone call. The call was from convicted drug dealer Warren Richards, a known associate of Roger Rogerson. She told her housemate she'd return in 5 to ten minutes.

Her body was found at 8:45am the next morning, face down in Busby's Pond in Sydney's Centennial Park.

That was more than thirty years ago. The killer, or killers, are yet to be brought to justice.

"The three blokes who I'm told are responsible for it are still up bright and walking around", says McNab.

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And that thought is slightly terrifying.

However a Supreme Court decision made in June last year brought some deal of closure to Huckstepp's family. Despite the fact no one has been convicted of her murder, Roger Caleb Rogerson was sentenced for the murder of University of Technology Sydney (UTS) student Jamie Gao.

The downfall of Roger Rogerson - the once hailed detective-sergeant who hid from the law in plain sight - a downfall Sallie-Anne Huckstepp kickstarted with her interview, was complete.

And with that, she was vindicated. Her controversial view of law enforcement; her outlandish claims against Rogerson; ultimately, her death. Absolved.

Busby's Pond in Sydney's Centennial Park, where Huckstepp's body was found. Image via Centennial Parklands.

"Every day I think of my sister", Debra Krivoshow tells Emily Webb and Meshel Laurie. "I think people are starting to realise what she took on, and the depth of it all."

"She'll never be forgotten." - Debra Krivoshow, Sallie-Anne Huckstepp's sister

True crime writer Emily Webb believes framing Huckstepp as a heroin-addicted whistle-blower is patronising; derogatory even.

"We need to re-frame her as a feminist", she tells Meshel Laurie. "She is a gutsy woman, and she paid with her life."

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