1993 Cangai siege

In March 1993 murderers Leonard Leabeater, Robert Steele and Raymond Bassett went on a nine-day rampage across Queensland and New South Wales, resulting in their taking hostages in a siege in a farmhouse at Hanging Rock Station, Cangai, near Grafton, New South Wales, and threatening to kill people indiscriminately. The trio had boasted about having killed five people in a two-state murder spree.[1]

The murderous trio kidnapped four children: Lorraine, Trevor, Tonia, and Robert Lasserre, but Lorraine and Robert were left by the side of the road unharmed. At the end of a siege where Trevor and Tonia were held hostage, they were released unharmed.[2]

While on the run for five days, the trio murdered five people after kidnapping the children.[3]

During the 26-hour siege, numerous shots were fired by the trio at NSW Police Tactical Operations Unit officers.[4][5]

Leabeater shot and killed himself the following day, while Steele and Bassett surrendered to police. Steele was later sentenced to five consecutive life sentences plus 25 years without parole; he hanged himself in his cell in Goulburn Jail on 23 December 1994.[6]

Bassett was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for being an accessory to the NSW murders, and consecutive sentences of life imprisonment for the Queensland murders, with the Queensland sentencing judge ordering him to serve a total non-parole period of 34 years.[3]

The siege is also infamous for the actions of news reporters Mike Willesee, who was heavily criticised for telephoning the gunman and speaking with the children being held hostage whilst live on air[7][8] and Mike Munro, who with his news crew landed a helicopter close to the homestead despite an exclusion on such flights.[9]

The siege is also described at length by ex-Tactical Operations Unit officer William Dodson in his book, The Sharp End.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Hanging Rock gunmen in court". The Independent. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  2. ^ Honnery, Chris (8 April 2016). "'Leonard Leabeater and Robert Steele: Four-day murder spree ends at Hanging Rock'". The Courier Mail (Australia). Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b "National – Live feed". News.ninemsn.com.au. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b [2]
  6. ^ "Captive audience". Theage.com.au. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Television's 10 Most Dramatic Moments". Virtualrugby.com.au. Archived from the original on 11 January 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  8. ^ "TV host put us in danger – Lasserres". Heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Australian Story - This is His Life". Abc.net.au. 29 September 2003. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2016.

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