BRIAN Burke has revealed for the first time that a “very senior police officer” was under investigation for murder during his time as premier and that he believed the inquiry was into the unsolved killing of brothel madam Shirley Finn.
The revelation centres on a confidential briefing he received in 1985 from then police commissioner Brian Bull.
Details of the briefing will be included in Mr Burke’s soon-to-be-published memoirs and they are likely to prompt interest from the long-awaited coroner’s inquest into the 1975 shooting of Ms Finn in South Perth.
Mr Burke recounted some details of the meeting with Mr Bull during a speaking engagement last week in Fremantle.
“Brian Bull asked me for a meeting saying he had something very confidential to tell me,” Mr Burke writes in his book, A Tumultuous Life.
“I had no idea what it might be but was taken aback.”
The former premier, who was jailed in 1994 for rorting travel allowances, claims Mr Bull explained the senior officer was being investigated over allegations he had committed murder, though the commissioner didn’t reveal which case the inquiry was into.
“He said the police officer was so senior that he couldn’t use internal investigations from WA and so he called investigators in from NSW,” Mr Burke said.
“I didn’t hear any more, but I told some of my ministers. We didn’t know what we could do other than to support the commissioner in what ever action he took.”
The murder of Ms Finn has been mired in rumours of police involvement since she was shot four times in the back of the head and found slumped in the driver’s seat of her car alongside Royal Perth golf course.
Mr Burke said he was told some time after his 1985 meeting with Mr Bull that the officer under investigation was retiring and the matter had been resolved.
“To this day the Shirley Finn matter remains under investigation,” Mr Burke said.
“There were all sorts of things associated with that period that were difficult to handle, difficult to know what to do.”
The inquest will be held in September.
Attempts to contact Mr Bull were unsuccessful.
“I want to make it absolutely clear that Bull didn’t make any mention of Shirley Finn,” Mr Burke said yesterday.
“The reference in the book to Finn is what has been common knowledge and mentioned to me from time to time.”
Ms Finn was shot on the same evening that she told friends and family she was due to meet someone to discuss problems with her business.
She never revealed who she was meeting.
She had been threatening to disclose details to the tax office of bribes she was paying to police so she could run her Northbridge brothel