Cop car near Finn's before shots: inquest

A man has told the inquest into the murder of Shirley Finn he saw a police car and heard gunshots.

A man has told the inquest into the murder of Shirley Finn he saw a police car and heard gunshots.

The inquest into the gangland-style murder of Perth brothel madam Shirley Finn has heard extraordinary testimony from a man who claims he saw a police car near her "yank tank" before hearing gun shots.

Philip Robert Hooper, 68, claims he was threatened over what he witnessed for decades, including by Bruce Wilson, Julia Gillard's ex-boyfriend and the then-leader of the Australian Workers Union in WA.

Mr Hooper told the WA Coroner's Court on Thursday he was driving with his girlfriend along Melville Parade on the night of June 22, 1975 when he saw Ms Finn's distinctive Dodge parked at the edge of Royal Perth Golf Course close to a police panel van.

Mr Hooper said he pulled over down the road to chat with his now-wife and heard shouting, mainly by a female, followed by four gun shots.

He said two men in a station wagon then banged on his car roof and one of them threatened to shoot the couple, but the other man said "no, leave it".

They were instructed to look down, wait 15 minutes before driving away and not tell police because they would know "and come after us".

Mr Hooper said he waited a few minutes then drove around the corner and saw the two men, plus another man, and they appeared to be arguing based on their hand gestures.

"They started waving at me and had to jump out of the way. They were a bit shocked I was there so soon."

He said he sped off, dropped his girlfriend off at her Como home then went to his own in Karrinyup.

Mr Hooper wept as he said he had been harassed since then, including by "really senior police".

"When people hold a gun to your head, threaten you ... shoot at you, people contracted to come out and kill you, you tend to get hesitant about who you trust," he said.

He said he eventually found out the three men were gambling identity Lawrence Tudori, his driver and WA Police vice chief, Bernie Johnson, who later threatened to frame him for the murder and always introduced himself as "detective sergeant".

"He would pull you off to the side of the road, even come to your house."

Mr Hooper also claimed Mr Wilson left a bullet on his car with a note that read: "Keep your mouth shut or you'll get one of these."

Mr Hooper said he was once so scared by his gun-toting tormenters he voided his bowels.

He said he kept his secret until 1994 when he made a statement to police and a detective forced him to sign a "completely different" document, saying if he didn't "terrible things will happen".

Counsel representing police, David Leigh, pointed out inconsistencies in Mr Hooper's story and accused him of imagining his involvement in the case, saying the more he read about it, the more he embellished.

"You're essentially suggesting a vast conspiracy," Mr Leigh said.

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