Shirley Finn's inquiry said police chief Bernie Johnson made "confession of a room" about murder



April 2, 2019 00:04:01

An investigation into Perth's execution-style murder of the Perth brothel lady, Shirley Finn, heard allegations by Bernie Johnson, the former chief of the addiction squad, made a "confession of quarters" to the murder.

Key points:

  • A witness witnessed former partner Bernie Johnson told him about the confession
  • Shirley Finn was found murdered in her car at the Royal Perth Golf Course in 1975
  • Mr. Johnson died last year, but his ex-partner was called in to give evidence

After an eight-month break, the inquiry resumed at the Perth Court of Appeal and heard from a witness who said Johnson's former partner, Carolyn Langan, had told him about the confession of the murder in the late 1980s.

CSIRO scientist Craig Klauber said that Langan, who started working at the CSIRO administration in Perth in 1986, came into his office one morning and told him, "Bernie told me last night that he killed Shirley Finn."

Ms Finn was shot four times in the head, and her body was found fallen on the wheel of her white Dodge Phoenix at the Royal Perth Golf Course on a June morning in 1975.

She was killed just two days before a tax hearing, where she threatened to report illicit transactions by politicians, businessmen and high-profile police officers.

Dr. Klauber told the court that he was not aware of the murder or the lady of the brothel at the time.

But he said that once Langan explained the scenario, he found it "scary".

He said Langan, whom he considered a close friend, told him not to tell anyone, and said he believed that he had trusted him as a security measure should something happen to her.

Johnson, who was linked to Finn's murder by several of the more than 50 witnesses the inquiry has heard, died in April last year.

Threats prevented me from going to the police: witness

The Doctor. Klauber said that later Langan entered his office "pale and visibly disturbed," saying that Mr. Johnson had threatened her with a gun the night before.

"My advice then was that she had to leave Bernie," he told the court.

"She was clearly very scared at this point.

"But she kept saying," Bernie will not hurt me, Bernie will not hurt me. "

When asked why he had not gone to the police, dr. Klauber said he felt he "was a far cry from the facts to be credible."

He also said he was told by Mr. Johnson on two occasions in what he inferred as threats, and decided that it was safer for him not to go to the police.

"I assumed that, after Bernie's threats, if he did nothing and said nothing else, he would be fine," he said.

Langan's attorney, Louis Durand, told Dr. Klauber that his client did not remember any of the allegations and denied them all.

Ex-partner of the police chief reminded to give evidence

This is not the first time the inquiry has heard Langan's allegations discussing Mr. Johnson's alleged involvement in the assassination of F. Finn.

Last year, Ross Stone and Errol Stone gave second-hand accounts of what Gratton Stone – Ross's father and Errol's brother – told them when Langan lived with him in the early 2000s.

Ms Langan denied these allegations as well.

But dr. Klauber said he was listening to Langan's evidence in July, which he said was false, which forced him to introduce what she had told him so many years ago.

"I do not understand what she has to gain by not telling the truth," he said.

Langan, who said she had been hired with Mr. Johnson and dated him for about 15 years, was called back to give testimony to the inquiry on Thursday.

Allegations of buried gold

The inquiry also heard from Joan Wilson that Dr. Klauber said he was also involved with Mr. Johnson at the same time as Mrs. Langan and while the detective was still married to his wife, Christine.

Klauber said he became close friends with Ms Wilson's daughter, Amanda Marzo, in 1989, after hiring her as a riding instructor.

He told the court that he was invited to go to their house one night in December of that year when Ms Wilson asked him as a scientist what he knew about gold processing.

He said she mentioned how $ 300,000 in gold were buried in a property owned by Mr. Johnson in Gidgegannup.

Ms Wilson denied the allegations and told the court, while she was in some meetings with Mr. Johnson, she did not know a Carolyn Langan and never met Dr. Klauber.

But the coroner's assistant lawyer, Toby Bishop, said Wilson had told police during a phone call last August that she was "vaguely aware of Craig Klauber."



murder and homicide,


courts and judgments,



First published

April 1, 2019 22:27:15


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