Senior Constable Desmond TRANNORE
26 October 1964
At 5.45pm on 26 October 1964 a complaint was received at the Gordonvale Police Station by Senior Constable Desmond Trannore. It concerned serious domestic trouble at a farmhouse, some nine miles from Gordonvale, occupied by a person called Verney, his partner Mrs Little and four children. The complaint came from one of Verney's neighbours. On that afternoon, Verney had abused one of his step children. Mrs Little, their mother, sent them to the neighbour's house and told them to phone the police. One child ran to the neighbour, while Verney grabbed Mrs Little and told her and the remaining child to get into the car. They then returned to the house.
When Verney saw the police car arrive he loaded his rifle and hid it in the lounge room. Trannore left his vehicle and walked up to the top step whereupon Verney and Mrs Little came out. Mrs Little told Trannore that there was trouble and that she wanted him to look at her child whom Verney had attacked. She also complained that Verney had assaulted her. Trannore examined the child and told Mrs Little that he was going to take the children to the Gordonvale hospital. Trannore asked Mrs Little to also come to town with the children so she went back into the bedroom to dress. Verney, now in a very agitated state of mind, went into the lounge room and retrieved the rifle. Trannore attempted to get Verney to relinquish the rifle but he would not give it up. Trannore then put the two children in the car and went back to the house for Mrs Little. As Trannore approached the house Verney shot him once in the chest. The officer only had time to tell the two children to "run for their lives" before he died.
Verney went on the run but surrendered to Cairns police on 27 October. He was committed to stand trial on 16 April 1965 and was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Desmond Trannore.
Constable Douglas G. GORDON
27 March 1968
On 27 March at 2.45am, Constable Gordon of Oxley Police Station and Constable Polzin, of neighbouring Inala Station, were sent to a house where a domestic disturbance was in progress, the residence was occupied by the Stabe family. Both police left the address without incident.
At about 5.15am Constable Gordon was called to the Oxley Ambulance centre to investigate an altercation between an ambulance officer and Mr Stabe. Gordon spoke to these two men for a short time outside the centre. Stabe's wife was injured and the ambulance officer had wanted to take her to the Princess Alexandria Hospital but Stabe had insisted that the wounds were nothing to worry about. Mrs Stabe asked Gordon to go with her to her home so that she could pack some clothing. Gordon agreed to this and said he would then take her to the hospital.
At about 5.30am Constable Gordon drove to the Stabe house in Inala. When Constable Polzin arrived Mrs Stabe was on the steps with her suitcases and Gordon could be seen in the lounge room with Mr Stabe. Polzin entered the house and heard Gordon say to Stabe "Where is it now". Stabe went into the bedroom followed by Gordon and then Polzin. Stabe knelt beside the far side of the bed, looked under the bed, then looked up at Gordon and said "Copper Bastard!". Stabe then reached under the bed, grabbed a .303 rifle, swung around and pointed it at Gordon. As the first shot went off both officers were moving backward out of the room but the second shot hit Gordon in the head, killing him instantly.
Polzin managed to overpower Stabe after a brief but strenuous struggle for the rifle. Stabe was later found guilty of the murder of Douglas Gordon and was jailed for life.
Senior Constable Colin W. BROWN
9 April 1969
On 9 April 1969, Senior Constable Brown of Dayboro Police Station, was called to a diary farm where an employee named Spencer was reported to be acting strangely. Brown had been called to the dairy farm by Mr Grech the owner. Grech reported that Spencer had allowed 170 gallons of milk to run out of a vat and he had subsequently been sacked from his job. Spencer had been employed at the farm for about seven months and prior to taking up the job, he had been a patient of Wolston Park Psychiatric Hospital for four years.
Brown arrived at the Grech home at about 9.30am. Mr Grech accompanied him to an old, unpainted weather board cottage occupied by Spencer. Grech led the way up the back steps and when Brown was on the fourth step, Spencer pointed a .22 calibre rifle out of a window and shot Brown in the chest at point blank range. Brown, who was seriously injured, and Grech retreated back towards the police car with Spencer following. More shots were fired and Brown was hit again in the left side. He reached the car and retrieved his service revolver. Brown and Grech took cover behind the police car and Brown managed to fire six shots at Spencer before he collapsed. Spencer, uninjured, continued to shoot in the direction of the two men.
Grech left the protection of the car and crept up behind Spencer. He then managed, after a brief struggle, to overpower him. Grech tied Spencer up and called for help. Constable Brown was still alive when they got him into the ambulance for the long ride to the hospital but unfortunately he died a mile from this destination.
Spencer was later found not guilty of murder on grounds of insanity.
Senior Constable Lyle M. HOEY
2 November 1975
At 1.15 am on Sunday, 2 November, 1975, an 18 gallon keg of beer was stolen from the Royal Hotel, Mossman by two individuals named Murphy and Freckleton, driving a Holden sedan. The matter was reported to Mossman Police by witnesses. Mossman Police alerted the Mareeba Police who in turn telephoned Senior Constable Lyle Hoey of the Mt Molloy Police Station requesting that he set up a road block, stop the vehicle in question and detain the offenders. Hoey left Mt Molloy and travelled about 6.5 kilometres from the township, towards Julatten on the Rex Highway. He left the headlights on dim with the parking lights illuminated. The police car was not fitted with any blue flashing warning devices nor were there any reflective vests on issue.
At about 1.45am the suspect motor vehicle was travelling along this straight stretch of the Rex Highway at about 105 kph. Upon seeing the vehicle, Hoey began waving his torch in an effort to stop it. The Holden driven by Murphy, had no intention of stopping. Murphy had seen the roadblock, realised exactly what it was, then deliberately aimed his vehicle directly at Hoey and struck him where he stood beside the police car. Senior Constable Hoey sustained serious injuries which resulted in his death prior to reaching the Mossman District Hospital.
Murphy and Freckleton were subsequently charged with stealing a kilderkin of beer on 2 November 1975 from the Royal Hotel in Mossman. Murphy was charged with the murder of Constable Lyle Hoey and found guilty of manslaughter. He was initially sentenced to five years in jail but the sentence was increased to twelve years upon appeal by the Crown.
Constable Michael L. LOW
29 February 1984
At 6.17pm on 29 February 1984 Constable Michael Low and Constable Derek Pickless attended a domestic dispute in North Rockhampton. At the residence a man named Reuter, who had appeared at Court earlier in the day for obscene telephone calls, was in possession of a shotgun and a rifle.
After some difficulty in locating the exact address Low and Pickless arrived at the residence. Low exited the car first while Pickless advised police communications of their arrival. Pickless followed Low towards the house, Low knocked on the door and Reuter fired the shotgun through the door hitting Low in the chest. Low fell backwards off the steps and then Pickless, without regard for his own safety, dragged him to cover.
Realising that Low needed urgent medical attention, Pickless twice broke cover to get to the police car radio to call for help. Reuter continued to trade fire with him while he was caring for Low.
Police backup arrived and then Reuter's wife came out of the house to say that her husband had taken his own life. Constable Michael Low died at the scene.
Constable Derek Pickless was awarded the George Medal for Bravery for his actions during this incident.
Senior Constable Peter G.J. KIDD
Tactical Response Group, Alderley
29 July 1987
In the early hours of 29 July 1987, police officers from the Tactical Response Group raided a house in Virginia, Brisbane, to apprehend Queensland's most wanted criminal, a man named Mullin. Police intelligence warned that this offender was heavily armed and would not hesitate to shoot at police. Mullin was considered to be extremely dangerous and a threat to members of the public.
At 5.10am the team entered the residence. Constable Kidd was the first member of the response group to go in, with only his weapon-mounted torch for light. As Kidd approached the main bedroom of the house, Mullin started firing his sawn-off Ruger .223 semi-automatic rifle, through the door and hit Kidd twice in the chest. Although badly wounded and without regard for his own safety, Kidd, opened the door and fired his weapon at the offender. For his efforts he received three more gunshot wounds and collapsed. The gunman severely wounded Constable Grant, another member of the team, before he was shot and killed.
Kidd's actions in proceeding into the room after being injured, ensured the success of the operation and almost certainly prevented a siege situation and a further loss of life. Senior Constable Kidd died in hospital from his wounds.
On 9 August 1989, Senior Constable Peter Kidd was posthumously awarded the Star of Courage, for putting his duty ahead of his life.