Former drug kingpin Tony Mokbel paid $50,000 to have a police informer killed on behalf of a Victorian detective, an inquest has been told.
Terence Hodson and his wife, Christine, were found shot dead at their Kew home in May 2004, months before he was due to give evidence in a criminal trial against drug squad detective Paul Dale.
A man, known only as witness M, told the inquest into the Hodsons’ deaths that hitman Rodney Charles Collins had once boasted of getting rid of “brain tumours” for a police officer.
Witness M said he later understood that removing brain tumours meant shooting the Hodsons in the head.
Mokbel later told him he had put in $50,000 towards “Dale’s medical costs, if you know what I mean”, witness M told the Victorian Coroners Court on Tuesday.
He said Mokbel told him he had known the detective for a long time and was confident of extracting information about police investigations.
Mokbel then said “Skinny” – meaning gangland killer Carl Williams – had contributed the rest of the money for the hit, witness M said.
Witness M said the Hodsons’ names were never mentioned in the conversations, but he was left with a clear inference about who Mokbel and Collins had meant.
Detective Senior Sergeant Sol Solomon said witness M’s story had checked out, rejecting a suggestion from Mr Dale’s barrister, Geoffrey Steward, that it was fanciful.
“That’s more than plausible in relation to witness M. It happened,” Det Sen Sgt Solomon told the inquest.
Mr Steward accused Det Sen Sgt Solomon of being “completely blinkered” in relation to his client’s connection to the murder.
“Absolutely I disagree – 240 people were spoken to,” Det Sen Sgt Solomon replied.
“Paul Dale was spoken to on day one, gave us his alibi and we never went near him for three-and-a-half years.”
Mr Dale and Collins were charged with the Hodsons’ murder in 2009, but the charges were withdrawn the following year when Williams was murdered in prison.
Williams claimed Mr Dale paid him $150,000 to have Mr Hodson killed.
Both Collins and Mr Dale have denied involvement.
Det Sen Sgt Solomon said police did not believe that a criminal who had been implicated by Mr Hodson was responsible for his murder.
“I never got the impression that they harboured that amount of ill feeling towards him because of his informing,” he said.
“There was never any outward angst or hostility expressed.”
Det Sen Sgt Solomon said the crime was committed by someone with “supreme proficiency in the art of killing people”.
Mokbel is serving a 30-year jail sentence with a minimum 22 years for drug crimes.
Collins is serving two life sentences for the murder of Dorothy and Ramon Abbey, who were shot dead at their Melbourne home in 1987.
The inquest, before State Coroner Judge Ian Gray, continues.