Of all the NSW criminals of his generation, Crookwell-born Patrick Hudd was one of the most devious and dangerous.
In the 1980s, heroin addicts were lining up in Goulburn to buy drugs from Hudd. Early one autumn morning in 1989, Detective Matt Casey aimed his .38 Smith and Wesson gun at Hudd’s head, saying: “Pat, don’t try anything, mate, because I’ll blow your head off and I know you’ve got a gun so I’ll be alright”.
Hudd sat motionless in the driver’s seat of his blue Holden ute. The 52-year-old had just left home at Pomeroy, west of Goulburn, as his addicted girlfriend continued sleeping. He was heading into town to train horses when heavily armed police stopped him after a brief pursuit.
Matt jumped into the front of the ute next to him.
“I was pretty calm and in control at that stage,” he recalls. “I said, ‘Now this is what’s going to happen’.”
Hudd listened carefully.
Special weapons officers with shotguns were all around him. The detective and Hudd drove back to a rented farmhouse. As instructed, Hudd opened and closed the gate afterwards, tied up his two cattle dogs and walked inside with Goulburn police’s guns drawn behind him.
Casey, 37 years old at the time and running the operation, looked at the career criminal.
“We know you’ve got a supply, Pat, and we’re going to take this place apart until we find it,” he said.
Police had been watching Hudd for some time.
“I don’t want to catch him with a little bit of heroin, that’ll just annoy him,” Casey had told senior officers who were pressing him to strike.
“I want to catch him with a lot.”
He knew they were dealing with a serious offender who had served time for kidnapping and attempted murder with a shotgun. On that occasion he had shot at his former girlfriend, taking off the tip of her shoulder.
Working closely with detective John Edlund in Goulburn, the two investigators kept all their information to themselves until the night before Hudd’s arrest, when they got a search warrant.
Casey rang other police at 3:00 am the next morning for a 5:00 am briefing at the station. They were to block all the roads around Hudd’s rented farmhouse.
Executing the plan led to a brief car chase before Hudd’s ute was stopped on Lambs Lane.
After his arrest and with police at the farmhouse, Hudd told Casey not to bother pulling things apart and pointed to a Tupperware container in the kitchen. Inside it, police discovered 250 grams of heroin – more than Casey had seen in one place in his lifetime.
Hudd was taken back to Goulburn police station and charged with supplying and firearm offences. His Sydney barrister conceded the evidence was overwhelming. But the detectives’ work was just beginning.
They were horrified when he was later released on bail, but successfully secured his return to custody.
He was held at Long Bay Jail in Sydney. Meanwhile, John Edlund was called one night by a Marulan police officer to say Hudd’s girlfriend had run out of petrol while returning to Goulburn from Sydney.
From what they found in her car, and a subsequent interview, a plot emerged to accuse police of fabricating the story and implicating Casey for planting the heroin in Hudd’s ute. As well, an associate of Hudd’s in Long Bay Jail had been bailed and concocted a story that, remarkably, he had been driving through Goulburn on his way to Cowra, got lost and ended up on Lambs Lane at the same time police were arresting Hudd.
“I saw this big bloke with a beard [Casey] with a bag of heroin and a gun, putting it in the car,” he claimed.
The plot and criminal witness folded under scrutiny, and Hudd was found guilty of drug and firearm offences. He then faced a second trial for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Later, en route from Long Bay Jail to Sydney’s Downing Centre court for his conspiracy trial, Hudd escaped, helped by armed men who had bailed up the prison van and kidnapped police.
“During the two weeks he was out, he returned to Goulburn and monstered all of the drug users that they would be killed if they gave evidence,” says Casey. “They were terrified.”
Hudd was later rearrested, convicted of the conspiracy, and served out his time in jail. On his release, he returned to Goulburn, resumed drug dealing and later shot dead a man in Sydney.
He died in jail, in 2013, from lung cancer.