Coroner to examine killer cop Roger Rogerson's death

The last days of crooked killer cop Roger Rogerson will be probed by a coroner after he died while serving a life sentence over the cold-blooded murder of a drug dealer.

Rogerson died at Sydney's Prince of Wales Hospital on January 21, 2024 after suffering a brain aneurysm.

The 83-year-old had been serving a life sentence at Long Bay prison for the execution-style murder of drug dealer Jamie Gao in 2014.

Rogerson always claimed he was innocent and had no idea of a plan by fellow crooked former detective Glen McNamara to murder the 20-year-old.

Roger Rogerson (file image)
Roger Rogerson had been serving a life sentence for murder when he died in jail. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

He lost a series of appeals for his murder conviction, including a 2023 High Court ruling that ensured he would die in jail for the crime.

Mr Gao was lured to a darkened storage shed in the city's south and shot dead before the former police officers attempted to cover their tracks by dumping his body at sea.

McNamara has also been jailed for life over the murder.

NSW Deputy State Coroner Elizabeth Ryan on Tuesday set down an inquest into Rogerson's death to be held at Lidcombe Coroner's Court from October 29.

Counsel assisting Matthew McAuliffe told the court that time was needed to collect additional material, serve a brief of evidence on any interested parties and apply for suppression orders.

Rogerson's family is aware of the coronial proceedings but chose not to attend court on Tuesday.

At one time, the disgraced detective was considered the NSW Police Force's most decorated officer.

The culmination of his recognition came with his receipt of the coveted Peter Mitchell Award for outstanding police work in 1980.

But within six years, his career had unravelled spectacularly.

In 1981 he was controversially found responsible for the fatal shooting of another young drug dealer, Warren Lanfranchi, but deemed to have acted in the line of duty.

Lanfranchi's girlfriend, sex worker Sallie-Anne Huckstepp, claimed that Rogerson deliberately killed the young man over a drug-related dispute involving corrupt police.

Ms Huckstepp was later found drowned in a murder case that remains unsolved.

Rogerson was also implicated in the attempted execution of NSW undercover operative Michael Drury after the decorated drug-squad detective declined to accept a bribe in exchange for evidence tampering in a heroin-trafficking trial.

Drury was shot twice through the kitchen window at his home on Sydney's north shore.

Rogerson was charged but eventually acquitted of the attack in 1989, although by then he had been kicked out of the force for depositing $110,000 in bank accounts under a false name.