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SA’s most wanted dead in siege

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He was South Australia’s most wanted man, with a long criminal history, and by his own apparent admission, did not expect to make it out alive after a 12-hour-long police siege.

Rodney Ian Clavell was found dead by police on Thursday afternoon after the siege at a massage parlour where the 46-year-old is believed to have remained holed up for days.

The former prison guard had been on the run for more than two weeks after breaching a firearms ban, which had been part of his strict parole conditions.

Police conducted more than 80 raids in pursuit of Clavell, before a tip-off led them to the brothel on King William Street, where he had taken refuge apparently armed with a rifle and cache of ammunition.

While he was on the run, it’s believed Clavell committed a number of serious offences, including assaulting a woman in a park on May 25.

He is believed to have been armed with a shotgun at the time.

Star Force Police Officers block off John Street.
Star Force Police Officers block off John Street.

Clavell’s death comes after a long criminal history, which had followed periods of work as a boilermaker and labourer before he became a prison guard.

It’s believed Clavell’s troubles started shortly after he joined the Department for Correctional Services, including an appearance before the Adelaide Magistrates Court in 2002 on four counts of assaulting a family member, and a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He had also been charged with failing to comply with a restraining order.

The assault charges were eventually dismissed.

Clavell was sacked by the Department in September 2003, and a year later found infamy after he lead police on a 46km chase through the Adelaide Hills at speeds topping 120kmh.

Cornered by police, Clavell got out of the car, pointed a sawn-off shotgun at his chest and threatened to kill himself, yelling: “I’ll do it, I’ll do it”.

He then dumped his car before commandeering a 12-tonne grader from a shed on the property.

With the shotgun sometimes pointed at his own heart, he then led police on a slow-speed chase during which he was shot in the thigh by an officer he had attempted to run down.

A police sniper eventually stopped Clavell by shooting him in the shoulder.

He served four years in jail.

Clavell again made headlines in October 2008 when he became involved in a riot at Port Augusta Prison which lasted three days.

In 2011, Clavell was handed a nine-month minimum jail term following another police pursuit.

Then last month, a warrant was issued for Clavell for offences including breaching a firearms ban.

A woman who claimed she had driven Clavell to the parlour on Monday morning reportedly said he had threatened to “take police out”, and that the armed fugitive had also suspected he would not make it out of Marilyn’s Studio alive.

“He knows he won’t survive this alive today,” she told the Adelaide Advertiser.

It’s believed Clavell took his own life.

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.