Crims in Grass Castles by Keith Moor

This book covers the same people and events that were written about in The Griffith Wars, but was published a decade earlier when some of the featured protagonists and antagonists were still alive. That allowed the author to interview several of them, including three of the men found guilty of conspiring to murder anti-drug campaigner Donald Mackay in Griffith NSW in 1977. The remaining (and prime) conspirator, Robert Trimbole died in Spain before the opportunity for an interview could be considered.

This book digs deeply into Trimbole’s other criminal activities of the time including his association with the Mr Asia drug syndicate, responsible for the importing and distribution of “harder” drugs into Australia.

It was that Mr Asia connection and the murders of two drug couriers that helped lead to the downfall of those eventually accused of involvement in the Mackay murder. Unlike the case of Mackay, the bodies of those victims, Douglas and Isabel Wilson, were discovered, providing useful clues.

The Griffith Wars was more focused on people and events associated with the city of Griffith, in particular those allegedly connected to the Calabrian mafia. Keith Moor’s book touches on the Griffith connections but significantly extends the story beyond that location and those mafia connections. Robert Trimbole’s “Mr Asia” involvement introduces a more international element, with the syndicate being responsible for murders in Britain as well as Australia.

I found this older book in a second hand bookshop after I’d read The Griffith Wars and after I’d ordered another book, Evil Life, about the history of the Calabrian mafia within Australia. That book arrived in the mail yesterday, and a quick glance at its content revealed it should a much wider context to what I’ve read about so far. In particular there seems to a brief link to something I wrote about in a post here (regarding the murder of Kim Barry).

These books have filled in the details of memorable events from my teen years, and I’ve learned how close to home some of the events have become. Back in the 70s they were happening in places I knew little about, and it was only via their profile in the media that a few details stuck in the memory. Now I know a lot of the places where these things happened, and I know people who knew some of the people involved.

I’m finding that crime has its own version of “six degrees of Kevin Bacon“, where none of us are ever totally out of the picture without connection to major crime of one form or another.

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