Police investigate possible recent sightings of fugitive
TULLY police have revealed they investigated two possible sightings of Australia's most wanted fugitive yesterday as authorities step up the search for convicted killer Graham Potter, with a $100,000 reward on offer.
The 61-year-old vanished in 2010 after failing to turn up to a Melbourne court where he was charged with conspiring to murder a Victorian underworld figure, having previously served a 15-year sentence for decapitating a 19-year-old.
He was last seen in the small Far North town six months later, when he fled from a routine traffic interception.
On Monday night, Victorian police released never-before-seen images of Potter, who became known as a master of disguises, in a bid to reinvigorate the case.
Tully police's Sergeant Rod Stanley said the fresh photos prompted two calls from members of the public who believed they had seen the fugitive in the town - one at the IGA supermarket and another at a local pub - but both proved to be dead ends.
"We received calls from members of the public that we followed up on, but so far the calls have been fruitless," he said. "We located the suspect person and it wasn't him (Potter)."
Sgt Stanley was working in Tully in 2010 when Potter fled the police intercept.
He said officers had pulled over his vehicle on Bulgun Rd.
"It was at night, it was raining and he ran into foliage and we lost him in the darkness," Sgt Stanley recalled.
Police managed to identify where Potter had been staying - at a local caravan park - where many of his belongings were found.
This included an inventory of random goods including pasta sauce, canned tuna, three knives, lubricant, a pair of red Crocs and a compilation of bizarre handwritten "survival" notes describing his life on the run and making detailed threats to kill anyone who may recognise him.
Police also found a number of highlighted newspaper job advertisements, including positions for station hands on remote properties.
Far North police Chief Superintendent Brian Huxley said the region had previously been used by fugitives attempting to outrun the law, given its perceived remoteness.
"We have people on the run from down south trying to get as far away as they can, so we do sometimes find they make their way to the Far North thinking their anonymity may help," he said.
"No doubt if people think they see this person about, they should not approach him, but call police or Crime Stoppers."
He said the case should also be a warning to station owners hiring workers or other remote employers to check applicants' backgrounds. "If the nature of work is one where the person needs to have a high level of integrity or there could be legal requirements, it's a good idea to go to the trouble of checking them out," he said.
A $100,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to Potter's capture.