EXCLUSIVE: Brutal reality of the underworld is exposed 50 YEARS after a kind-hearted petty thief vanished - as it's revealed he was 'knocked' after trying to become mates with some of most ruthless killers Australia has ever seen
Viv Donnelly was watching the fights at Souths Leagues Club in Sydney's inner-city Redfern the night he heard his big brother Robert had been murdered.
'A bloke I knew came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder,' Mr Donnelly recalled.'He said, "Viv, I've got some bad news for you - Robert's been knocked".'
That was in May 1972 and it would be almost 50 years before a coroner tried to determine what happened to Robert Donnelly, whose body has never been found.
Robert, a small-time thief who was mixing with some of Sydney's worst organised criminals before his disappearance, was not formally reported as missing until 2012.
And it was not until last month that Deputy State Coroner Carmel Forbes declared he was dead, still unable to determine exactly who killed him or why.
A brief inquest heard Robert had been running with some very dangerous men before he went missing, chief among them Johnny Regan, known as 'The Magician' for his ability to make people disappear.
He had also been associating with another nasty piece of work by the name of Kevin Victor Gore, head of a gang called the 'Toe Cutters' who preyed on fellow crooks.
他还与另一件叫凯文·维克多·戈尔(Kevin Victor Gore)的肮脏工作联系在一起，戈尔是一个名为“脚趾切割者”(Toe Cutters)的团伙的头目，该团伙掠夺其他骗子。
Robert Frederick Charles Donnelly fell in with the wrong crowd then got into the wrong car, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
罗伯特·弗雷德里克·查尔斯·唐纳利(Robert Frederick Charles Donnelly)遇到了错误的人群，然后在错误的时间、错误的地点上了错误的车。
While Ms Forbes could not rule Donnelly was killed by the psychopathic Regan, his involvement would surprise no one familiar with Sydney's crime scene at the time.
Stewart John Regan was a vicious pimp and standover man who murdered his way to infamy in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
斯图尔特·约翰·里根(Stewart John Regan)是一个恶毒的皮条客和冷漠的人，他在20世纪60年代末和70年代初谋杀了自己，最终声名狼藉。
He is strongly believed to have dispatched at least half a dozen other criminals as well as killing a three-year-old boy he was supposed to be minding.
Arthur Stanley 'Neddy' Smith knew both Donnelly and Regan; one he considered a dear mate, the other an uncontrollable animal.
Smith, who is serving life for two murders, met Regan when they were both in Gosford Boys' Home in the late 1950s and in 1968 the pair reunited in Long Bay jail.
'Regan was a very strange person - not exactly ugly, but with a sort of hair-lip and the coldest eyes I have ever seen in any man,' he wrote in his 1995 book about unsolved underworld murders, Catch And Kill Your Own.
“里根是个非常奇怪的人--不是很丑，但有一种毛唇和我在任何人身上见过的最冷漠的眼神，”他在1995年出版的关于未侦破的黑社会谋杀案“抓住并杀死你自己”(Catch And Kill Your Our)一书中写道。
'I don't know of anybody who was as feared in the underworld as he was. He struck fear into the hearts of everyone he met and even those who had only heard about him shrank at the mention of his name.'
Almost as notorious during the era were the Toe Cutters, who along with Gore includedbrothers William Andrew 'Billy' Maloney and John Patrick 'Jake' Maloney and Linus Patrick 'The Pom' Driscoll - perhaps the worst of them all.
The gang got its name by their method of torturing victims from whom they were trying to extract stolen or otherwise ill-gotten money.
The Toe Cutters' most infamous targets were three Melbourne criminals with links to the notorious Painters and Dockers union who pulled off what was then the greatest armed robbery in Australia, on March 4, 1970.
That day Francis George 'Baldy' Blair, Stephen Nittes and Alan Laurie Albert Jones snatched $587,890 from a Mayne Nickless van at Guildford in western Sydney.
The trio had pulled off the first successful attack on an armoured van in the nation's criminal history and their feat would have awful repercussions for years to come.
Blair, Nittes and Jones split $270,000 of the Mayne Nickless robbery, with the rest going to mastermind Leslie 'The Torch' Woon.
Soon the Toe Cutters came hunting for their share of the proceeds and Robert Donnelly might have become an unintended casualty.
Nittes gave up his cut of the money and possibly helped steer the gang towards Blair, who was kidnapped from the Oceanic Hotel at Coogee and never seen again.
Underworld rumour has it that his captors cut off several of Blair's toes and put a blowtorch to his testicles before he disclosed the location of his booty and died of his wounds.
Enter The Magician - born Stewart John Regan - who seems to have used the unfortunate Robert Donnelly to get close to Gore and the Mayne Nickless money.
魔术师出身的斯图尔特·约翰·里根(Stewart John Regan)似乎利用不幸的罗伯特·唐纳利(Robert Donnelly)接近戈尔和梅恩·尼克斯(Mayne Nickless)的钱。
Regan had been running prostitutes in Kings Cross since he was a teenager and become an independent force in a Sydney underworld controlled largely by the trio of Lennie McPherson, Stan Smith and George Freeman.
里根从十几岁起就在国王十字车站卖淫，并成为悉尼黑社会中的一股独立力量，主要由伦尼·麦克弗森(Lennie McPherson)、斯坦·史密斯(Stan Smith)和乔治·弗里曼(George Freeman)三人控制。
Donnelly, who grew up in Waterloo with one older and two younger brothers, had worked as a french polisher with his father Michael after he left school.
From 1963 to 1971 he had also amassed a long criminal record, mostly for property offences, and served a stint in Long Bay jail.He was a much-loved friend, brother and son.
Neddy Smith had knocked around the streets of Redfern with Donnelly when they were children and did not see him as a real criminal, as he recounted in Catch And Kill Your Own.
'Robert Donnelly was a very close friend of mine and had been since early childhood,' Smith wrote. 'We started kindergarten together and went through what little school we did together.
'Robert was not really a thief in the proper sense of the word. Sure, he would steal little things and later, just before he was murdered, he started working with a team of professional shoplifters. But he was not the normal criminal or thief.
'He didn't know how to do the wrong thing and would rather cut his hand off than do anyone a bad turn. That's just the way he was and he never changed.'
Smith, who would become one of Australia's leading gangsters in the 1980s, was horrified when he learnt in early 1972 that Donnelly had begun associating withRegan and Gore.
Donnelly wrote to Smith shortly before his disappearance to tell him about his new friends while his old school mate was serving a sentence for rape at Grafton jail.
'I put pen to paper and wrote to him straightaway to try to warn him of the danger he was in by being in the company of these two low-lifes,' Smith wrote.
Donnelly had said he would be visiting Smith in the next two weeks but never made it to Grafton and did not reply to Smith's note.
After the Toe Cutters got rid of Blair and extorted Nittes, heavies from the Painters and Dockers wanted vengeance and set out to recoup the Mayne Nickless loot.
Police at the time suspected Regan was either hired by Melbourne Dockers to catch and kill Gore, or was acting on his own to steal back from the Toe Cutters.
Donnelly, who was working with Gore in a shoplifting gang separate from the Toe Cutters, might have been used by Regan to get close to their leader so he could kill him.
But the 28-year-old Donnelly, who was living alone at Bondi at the time of his disappearance, might also have been the victim of a simple case of mistaken identity.
Donnelly had borrowed Gore's 1970 Ford Fairlane from his house in Rose Bay on the evening of May 1, 1972, with the intention of returning it the following morning.
The crew of Melbourne hitmen who were targeting Gore may have spotted the Fairlane and assumed the man behind the wheel was Gore, when it was actually Donnelly.
He was never seen alive again.
Smith was told Regan flagged down Donnelly for a lift, killed him and dumped the body in the sea.
Two days later Regan and Gore met at an office criminal Neville Biber kept at Paddington. The pair left together with Gore telling Biber he would be back in half an hour.
Gore was never seen alive again. Like Donnelly, his body has never been found.
On May 7 the Ford Fairlane was located burnt out in Osroy Avenue, Earlwood with a .38 rimless cartridge case inside the vehicle.
Four days after that police received an anonymous tip-off that William Gordon 'The Stockman' Johnston had torched the car.
Johnston was not seen again after May 20 and his disappearance has never been solved.
Lidcombe Coroner's Court heard on September 30 that police had investigated the presumed murders of Gore and Donnelly but no one was ever charged.
'The conclusion of the investigation was that the disappearance of Kevin Gore was one of a number of reprisal attacks carried out by figures from the Melbourne underworld on the Toe Cutters,' Ms Forbes found.
'The consensus was that Mr Donnelly was murdered in mistake of Kevin Gore when he was driving Kevin Gore's car.'
When Jake Maloney was shot dead at Revesby on November 24, 1972 a young detectiveRoger Rogerson investigated and found no link to the disappearances of Gore or Donnelly.
Driscoll was subsequently found guilty of Maloney's murder but that conviction was later overturned. Driscoll died on November 18, 1994.
No further police interest was shown in Donnelly's disappearance until 2012 when his younger brother John read that bones had been found in sand dunes at Kurnell five years earlier.
John Donnelly told police he suspected the remains could be those of Robert and provided a DNA sample but no match was found.
Coincidentally, some of the bones found at Kurnell were formally identified this year as belonging to missing model and drug dealerMark Arthur Johnston.
巧合的是，今年在库内尔发现的一些骨头被正式确认属于失踪的模特和毒贩马克·阿瑟·约翰斯顿(Mark Arthur Johnston)。
Police believe Johnston, who was last seen leaving the Bellevue Hotel at Paddington about 7pm on September 1, 1986, was killed by Neddy Smith at the behest of the late solicitor Val Bellamy.
警方认为，约翰斯顿最后一次被人看到是在1986年9月1日晚上7点左右离开帕丁顿的贝尔维尤酒店，是在已故律师瓦尔·贝拉米(Val Bellamy)的要求下被内迪·史密斯(Neddy Smith)杀害的。
Detective Senior Constable Stephen McNamara re-investigated Robert Donnelly's fate while stationed at Redfern and the case finally made it to the Coroner's Court.
高级警官斯蒂芬·麦克纳马拉(Stephen McNamara)在驻扎在雷德费恩(Redfern)期间重新调查了罗伯特·唐纳利(Robert Donnelly)的命运，案件最终提交死因法庭。
John Donnelly wrote a statement which was read to the court on September 30 by advocate assisting the coroner, Sergeant Brooke Notley.
约翰·唐纳利(John Donnelly)写了一份声明，9月30日，协助验尸官的倡导者布鲁克·诺特利(Brooke Notley)向法庭宣读了这份声明。
The now 64-year-old said he had found out his brother was likely dead in May 1972 when police came to his door and since then his family had suffered in silence.
'I was very close to my brother Robert and idolised him as a teenager,' John wrote.
Robert had told him to look after his teeth which was why he still had no fillings.
'I miss my brother and have missed him for almost 50 years. My family and I have never stopped wondering what happened to Robert.'
John wrote that until Detective Senior Constable McNamara took on the case it seemed no one outside his family cared if Robert had ever lived, let alone died.
Viv Donnelly, who came to court with his wife Josefina, got into the witness box to give brief evidence about his brother's disappearance.
'I'll make it short and sweet,' the 72-year-old told the court. 'I just want to thank everybody involved in trying to find out what happened to my brother.
'The only thing I'm a bit dirty on is we don't have a body to bury.'
Ms Forbes was unable to make findings in relation to the place, cause or manner of Robert Donnelly's death - only that he had died.
'There is undisputed evidence that Mr Donnelly was closely associated with unlawful activities and criminal figures at the time of his disappearance,' she found.
'Both the police and Mr Donnelly's brothers believe that he was killed on 1 May, 1972. I am also satisfied that he died at this time in suspicious circumstances.
'I acknowledge the painful and persistent uncertainty felt by his family in not knowing what happened to Mr Donnelly and the anguish at not being able to give him a proper burial.'
Ms Forbes recommended Donnelly's death be referred to the NSW Police Unsolved Homicide Unit for ongoing investigation.
Outside court, Viv Donnelly spoke of happy times spent with Robert, who was two years older. The pair would often play snooker or just sit and talk.
'We were very close,' he said.
Viv had been in no doubt since that night at Souths Leagues Club almost half a century ago what fate had befallen Robert, and some of his associates.
'I believe they're all under the second runway out at Botany,' he said.'If you muck around with them sort of people that's how you finish up.'