Former Policeman Denies 'Vampire' Murder Link
A former policeman alleged to have been involved in the murder of a male prostitute and self-proclaimed vampire has admitted meeting the killer on at least four occasions, but has denied providing him with the victim's address or an alibi. Former detective sergeant Peter Lalor was at the centre of a high-profile investigation by the Office of Police Integrity into a chain of leaks that led to perjury charges against former assistant commissioner Noel Ashby, retired Police Association secretary Paul Mullett and police media director Stephen Linnell. Mr Mullet was alleged to have used an intermediary to tip-off Mr Lalor that he was the target of Operation Briars, which was examining links between corrupt police and the shooting of gigolo Shane Chartres-Abbott as he left his Reservoir home for the County Court in 2003 to face rape charges. Charges against Mr Mullet were dropped in June. The Briars taskforce was established by the OPI in 2007, when a gangland killer unexpectedly confessed to the murder and implicated Mr Lalor and former detective sergeant David Waters. Waters and the killer were associates, and Waters and Lalor were old friends. Mr Lalor remains subject to an ongoing investigation, but he told The Sunday Age he plans to take defamation action against Victoria Police in a bid to clear his name. As a former Police Association delegate, Mr Lalor admits he was responsible for some of the ''Kit Walker emails'', which were part of a campaign to discredit former Police Association president Sergeant Janet Mitchell during a bitter power struggle with retired secretary Paul Mullett. He claims his support of Mr Mullet and outspoken criticism of the OPI made him the target of a political vendetta. The controversial former policeman retired because of ill health on September 11 after having been suspended for almost two years. He has not been charged in connection with the Chartres -Abbott murder or sanctioned over the Kit Walker emails. He says he plans to ask the Ethical Standards Department to investigate those responsible for leaking to the media. A police spokeswoman said Mr Lalor's comments were part of a ''classic misinformation campaign''. ''It is clearly aimed at polluting the jury pool. We do not intend to comment further as there are matters before the courts,'' the spokeswoman said.Speaking for the first time since he was suspended over the allegations, Mr Lalor said the case against him was based on the confession of a gangland killer with a long history of lying to police. He rejects key claims that connect him to the murder. The shooter, whose identity has been suppressed but who was referred to in court as ''JP'', told Taskforce Briars he had lunch at a Swanston Street hotel with Mr Lalor and former detective sergeant Dave Waters just weeks before Chartres-Abbott was gunned down. JP claimed Mr Lalor agreed to provide him with Chartres-Abbott's address and an alibi. ''The fact is, I've never had lunch with [JP] in my life,'' Mr Lalor said. ''I never gave him the address and I did not have the address to give him.'' Mr Lalor said he met with JP about four times during his 32-year career, including sharing a beer at a Port Melbourne pub in 1992. On a separate occasion, JP asked Mr Lalor if he could help get his brother released from prison for an afternoon visit to their seriously ill father. Mr Lalor refused but says he saw nothing strange about a notorious criminal asking for a favour. The head of Taskforce Briars, Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles, told the Supreme Court this year that JP's confession to the murder when he had not been under investigation had been crucial. ''It is an extraordinary step for a career criminal to come forward to implicate himself in a crime and then, over a period of time, to be prepared to make statements,'' he said. Mr Lalor said the last time he had met JP was at Prahran police station eight hours after Chartres-Abbott was killed, but he denied it was an alibi for the killer or a plan to confuse subsequent investigations. The allegation is that the alibi was set up so that if JP were ever suspected of the murder he could claim he was at the police station at the time. Mr Lalor said solicitor Bernie Balmer had called a day earlier and had asked him (Mr Lalor) to execute an outstanding warrant relating to a drink-driving charge against his client JP. ''It had nothing to do with any meeting. It certainly wasn't an alibi. If I was going to provide an alibi, I would have had him out of the state, not eight hours later rocking up to the police station after the murder was committed in Preston,'' Mr Lalor said. Mr Balmer agreed with Mr Lalor's version of events. He described a claim by JP that the meeting at Prahran police station was a ruse or alibi as ''complete bullshit''. ''We do this all the time and I did it at Prahran because I knew a few cops there, including Peter,'' Mr Balmer said. ''If it wasn't Peter it would have been someone else. It just happened that he answered the phone.''