Notorious crim Neddy Smith was 'appalling'

·2-min read

One of Sydney's most infamous criminals Arthur 'Neddy' Smith, who's died after spending more than half his life in jail, is being remembered as an appalling man.

Born Arthur Stanley Smith in 1944, the 76-year-old was a major figure in Sydney's underworld during the height of NSW police corruption in the city in the 1980s.

He had Parkinson's disease and died on Wednesday in Sydney's Long Bay Correctional Complex prison hospital.

The career criminal was accused of numerous murders in the 1970s and 1980s during Sydney's gangland wars.

A tall man who towered over six feet, Smith was serving two life sentences for the murders of brothel owner Harvey Jones in 1983 and tow-truck driver Ronnie Flavell in 1987.

Former NSW detective turned crime author Duncan McNab said Smith was a violent and much-feared standover man.

"He was an absolutely appalling human being," he told ABC radio on Thursday.

"He was a violent offender who committed violent armed robberies, a rapist, a murderer and at one stage Australia's biggest heroin dealer as well.

"So ... not a huge loss."

Smith became a household name when he turned whistleblower and was the principal witness at a NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry and the Wood Royal Commission which exposed corruption between NSW Police officers and criminals.

He told the ICAC he had bribed numerous NSW senior detectives and had subsequently been given a "Green Light" to commit crime from 1981.

"I had what is commonly known within criminal circles as the 'Green Light', which meant I could do anything I pleased," he wrote in his autobiography.

Smith featured in the 1995 ABC television production 'Blue Murder' depicting Sydney's criminal underworld and its intricate links with corrupt police, including disgraced police officer Roger Rogerson.

Smith and Rogerson were immortalised in the mini-series, which was banned from being shown in NSW for six years until court cases involving Smith were completed.

Smith was Rogerson's informer and helped deliver heroin dealer Warren Lanfranchi to him in a Sydney laneway in Chippendale in 1981 where he was shot dead.

An inquest determined Rogerson, who's currently serving time for murder, shot Lanfranchi while trying to arrest him.

Lanfranchi's girlfriend, Sallie-Anne Huckstepp, went public with allegations of the corrupt relationship between Rogerson and Smith.

She was found murdered in 1986 in Centennial Park.

Smith, who was wheelchair-bound in later life, was charged with her murder but was acquitted.

Retired NSW Assistant Police Commissioner John Laycock told the ABC in 2019 that Smith was "allowed to run too far and too wide."

"In his heyday, he was number one, he was turning over millions and millions of dollars in drug money," he said.

"He was exporting it, selling it, distributing it and he had his own little empire of drug runners and drug dealers, he made a lot of money."

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