Australia’s most wanted fugitive was holed up in a rundown weatherboard shack covered with rubbish when cops caught up with him after 12 years on the run.
Graham Potter, 64, was arrested in a police raid on Monday after he allegedly skipped bail in Melbourne in 2010 on conspiracy to murder charges.
He was dubbed the ‘head and fingers killer’ after serving 15 years for the 1981 murder of Kim Barry, 19, who he bashed to death and decapitated.
Police vision of the arrest shows the inside of dilapidated house where he hid out at Ascham St, Ravenshoe, 120km south-west of Cairns in far north Queensland.
He was found in a squalid room filled with empty cardboard boxes, beer bottles on the windowsill and a chicken coop – with a terrified cat filmed in police vision.
Potter, who allegedly evaded police for so long by changing his appearance, was hiding behind a bunk bed topped with multiple old mattresses and there were large cobwebs on the walls.
It has since been announced he will be extradited from Queensland to Victoria to face court.
A 12 year manhunt for Potter ended when police found him hiding out in this dilapidated shack (pictured) in remote North Queensland
Old planks of wood, sheets of corrugated iron are strewn about the yard (pictured)
Graham Potter is seen stumbling on a chicken coop after police discovered him inside a squalid room filled with old cardboard boxes and rubbish
Images of the outside of the property in the small town of about 1,400 residents show the iron roof completely rusted and a tarp strung up around the lower level.
Old planks of woods, sheets of corrugated iron, and rubbish are strewn haphazardly around the yard.
There also looks to be half-finished landscaping work done with branches cut from trees piled up and the lawn dug up.
Footage of the dramatic arrest shows hiding amongst the debris inside the property.
‘This is the police. Do not move. Put your hands where I can see them,’ a police officer yells at him.
‘Yeah, yeah,’ Potter nonchalantly responds.
The weatherboard house has a tarp hung up around the lower level and the lawn dug up
Other tarps are strung up around the property where the 64-year-old had hid out along with piles of clutter
Old furniture, fridges and other junk are strewn randomly through the Ravenshoe house in which Potter was found
A stack of old mattresses are pictured on the bunk bed behind which Potter was found hiding
Potter was taken in handcuffs from the house down a staircase piled with old newspapers, magazines and general rubbish
The house on Ascham St, Ravenshoe, 120km south-west of Cairns, where fugitive Graham Potter was found by police
As he is led from the house in handcuffs, piles of newspapers and magazines are seen stacked on a staircase.
Old furniture, fridges and other junk are strewn randomly through the house.
Empty beer bottles can be seen lined up in the front windows of the house, with the curtains tightly drawn.
Police said Potter denied his identity when located, while the home’s owner said Potter was known to her as ‘Ned’.
The owner, Sandi Feller, told The Australian she would not comment about Potter’s discovery at the house under she’d spoken to a solicitor.
‘They didn’t arrest me. They haven’t charged me, but that might come yet too, who knows?’ she said.
Potter had evaded police for 12 years before he was located at the far north Queensland property
Empty beer bottles can be seen lined up in the front windows of the Ascham St property, with the curtains tightly drawn
A neighbour told Nine News Queensland he had never seen Potter at the house.
‘I’ve never seen the man they arrested this morning,’ the man said.
Another resident of the street, Paul Adamson, said the house where the fugitive was found was known as a junkyard but had actually been ‘tidied up’ recently.
‘At the moment it looks the best it’s been since I’ve been here. You couldn’t even see the house two weeks ago.’ he said.
Mr Adamson said Potter had been known to visit the house.
‘He was there years ago. He was on the run years ago and they’d found he’d been staying there,’ he said.
Graham Gene Potter was released from prison in 1996 after serving 15 years. He was dubbed Australia’s ‘number one fugitive’ by Victoria Police in 2017
Potter was jailed for life for the murder of teenager Kim Barry (pictured), 19, in Wollongong in 1981
On Tuesday Potter appeared via video link from the Mareeba watchhouse to hear Magistrate Thomas Braes make an order for him to be returned to Victoria to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Victorian detectives travelled from Melbourne on Tuesday morning to escort Potter from Queensland.
There was no application for bail.
The convicted murderer, who has an extensive criminal history, was dubbed Australia’s ‘number one fugitive’ by Victoria Police acting assistant crime commissioner Paul De Santo in 2017.
Historical police records show Potter lining up for a mugshot as early as 1976, when he was aged just 18.
Five years later, he was jailed for life for the murder of teenager Kim Barry, 19, in Wollongong, after he beat her and cut off her head. He was released in 1996 after serving just 15 years.
Local police update on the capture of Graham Gene Potter
Detective Inspector Kevin Goan discussed the capture of Australia’s most wanted man, Graham Potter, at a press conference at Mareeba police station on Tuesday morning.
– ‘He’s a personable fellow,’ Det Insp Goan said of Potter. ‘He is happy to speak with to us in relation to any number of issues. We’ve had no acts of violence that warrant concern for our detectives.’
– Police suspect Potter has lived in the far north Queensland area for the last 12 years.
– Det Insp Goan said there was evidence Potter had at times ‘assimilated’ himself with others members of the local community.
Detective Inspector Kevin Goan discusses the capture of Australia’s most wanted man, Graham Potter, at a press conference at Mareeba police station on Tuesday morning
– Potter claimed to be ‘Josh Lawson’ when approached by police at the Ravenshoe property, until finger-printing at Mareeba police station confirmed his identity.
– Queensland police are waiting on Victorian detectives to arrive before deciding whether charges will be laid against the woman found at the Ascham St property. The woman is not in custody.
– No warrant was needed to enter premises because police possessed ‘credible’ information a wanted person was at the property.
– Det Insp Goan confirmed police had visited the house a number of times over the years after reports Potter had visited the premises.
– The dog squad attended the arrest because Potter had been known to ‘take flight’ on previous occasions when police closed in on him.
At the time of his arrest in 2010, Potter was connected to Victorian and New South Wales organised crime figures and had allegedly been recruited to carry out gangland killings.
He was one of three charged over the alleged planned murders of two men related to disputes within a drug syndicate over a failed importation.
Potter allegedly skipped a court appearance in February 2010 and has eluded police ever since.
In August 2010 he allegedly bragged about how he had used a number of costumes, including wigs, fat suits, and hair colour changes, to mingle in society undetected.
His alleged strategies were unearthed in letters discovered at a campsite in Tully, 140km south of Cairns, on August 28 that year by officers investigating a tip-off about his possible location.
Potter’s stint in Tully was the closest police would come to catching him before he was finally apprehended this week, in another town 128km north west.
Acting on a tip off, an army of officers and police dogs stormed the ramshackle Ravenshoe house around 8.45am on Monday to find Potter lying at the top of a dingy bunk-bed.
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