Disgraced former New South Wales detective Roger Rogerson “didn’t have a worry in the world” and was enjoying watching some weekend boxing bouts in Queensland, just as police were preparing to raid his Sydney home over the murder of student Jamie Gao.
Mark Dixon, a friend and former bodyguard of Rogerson, has revealed to the ABC that the former police officer had been in Redcliffe, north of Brisbane, for the weekend, and had attended a public event.
“I brought him up here as a guest of mine to watch some exhibition sparring at my gym here at Redcliffe,” said Mr Dixon, who is also known by colleagues as “The Hammer”.
“I had Roger here to meet a few of the locals and he was having a great time.”
Police from NSW, accompanied by Queensland colleagues, came looking for Rogerson at the boxing gym of Mr Dixon on Monday night. But they were about 12 hours too late.
Mr Dixon told the ABC Rogerson had left the Scarborough home of Mr Dixon’s uncle, former boxer and harness racing identity Alan “Bunger” Johnson, before dawn yesterday heading for Sydney, where the 73-year-old was arrested at his Padstow home this morning.
Yesterday another former detective and alleged accomplice of Rogerson, Glen McNamara, was charged with the murder of 20-year-old Mr Gao, who went missing a week ago.
Mr Dixon said he had first met Rogerson while he was working as a bodyguard for the notorious criminal turned author Mark “Chopper” Read.
Mr Dixon earned his nickname after getting between Read and a man trying to attack the career thug with a hammer.
“Mate, I met [Roger Rogerson] a few years back when I was bodyguarding [sic] Chopper,” Mr Dixon said.
“I did a couple of years doing security for Roger when he was public speaking, and from then on we became great mates.”
On Sunday afternoon Mr Dixon was refereeing a sparring exhibition at his gym while Rogerson enjoyed the show.
“Mate, he looked like he didn’t have a worry in the world, happiest I’ve seen him in ages,” Mr Dixon said.
“He was sitting here on the ring beside me at the table having a couple of beers, having a laugh.”
After the public sparring session at the gym, Rogerson went with Mr Dixon back to the home of his uncle. There they enjoyed some more drinks before heading to bed.
“Bunger gets out of bed about six [o’clock] and Roger was gone,” Mr Dixon said.
“Bunger’s rung me and said ‘Roger, he’s gone mate, he’s not here. Do you know where he is?’ And I said ‘No, I have no idea’. Next thing we know about it, it’s on the news and they’re looking for him.”
University student Jamie Gao was shot twice in the chest in a Padstow storage facility by former detectives Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara, police will allege.
According to a report by News.com.au, damming CCTV footage shows the two men carrying what appears to be the body of Gao, wrapped in blue tarpaulin.
The body of the 20-year-old was found by fishermen floating 1.5km offshore in Cronulla, wrapped in blue tarp with ropes and chains.
Police will allege that Gao took $3 million worth of the drug ice with him to the arranged meeting with McNamara and Rogerson, according to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald.
CCTV footage seized by police shows Gao getting into a car with two men an hour before his death, carry what police allege is a bag of ice.