Stewart John Regan - The Magician
Stewart John Regan was a dangerous psychopath whose sadistic and unpredictable nature was a threat to both society and the criminal circle. He was a well known member of the Australian underworld during the 60’s and 70’s who frequented the Kings Cross area and relished in using violence to instil fear in those who knew him. His methods were ruthless and there was never any doubt in his ability to rule the Cross one day. He was known as “The Magician” because he had a talent for making those associated with him disappear without a trace. Regan’s vanishing acts however didn’t win him many fans and a plan was concocted by his competitors to have this madman taken out.
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Evolution of a Tough Nut
As a child, Regan showed his sadistic side by torturing animals for fun. His classmates recall an incident when they watched him pierced a pitch fork at a live possum. At the age of 17, Regan began pimping in Kings Cross in 1962. He started with one prostitute and over a few years acted as a standover man for a group of prostitutes he ruled over through fear and violence. He racked up a series of charges including assault, robbery, rape and conspiracy to thwart the course of justice during his twenties but managed to avoid incarceration for many of the charges.
Without a Trace
In 1968, one of Regan’s associates Barry Flock was found murdered. Detectives believed Regan was responsible for the murder but did not charge him because of insufficient evidence. Not long after, a few more of Regan’s associates disappeared. Ross Christie and two other criminals vanished, never to be seen again.
In 1971, three gunmen robbed a Mayne Nickless armoured van and took half a million dollars. It was the biggest take in Australia at the time and everyone in the Sydney underworld wanted a hold of the booty. The notorious extortion gang the ‘Toe Cutters’ managed to find one of the robbers, Steven Nittes, who out of fear led them to the money. Around this time, the gang’s leader Kevin Gore mysteriously disappeared and he was last seen with Regan. Another member of the gang also disappeared and there was without doubt Regan was involved in their disappearances.
The Final Straw
Regan’s power began to flourish in the early 70’s but he became increasingly reckless. In 1973 Regan shot dead bookie ‘Ratty’ Jack Clark. Ratty was having a quiet drink with friends when a bullet shot through a window and penetrated his skill. This sent shivers through the organized criminal network because Ratty was a powerful player and had many friends in high places. This sent shockwaves through the crime community and had everyone on edge thinking that one day they would be next.
In 1974 a three year old boy, son of his girlfriend, who was left in his care went missing. Regan told police that on 22 May he had gone out with the boy to buy a newspaper. He left the car with the boy asleep inside and when he returned, Karlos was gone. Regan was suspected to have killed the boy but like all the other disappearances, there was no proof. Regan’s competitors feared Regan had gone too far with this final act and plotted to have him taken out.
On 22 September 1974 Regan left his home to go to a meeting without his bulletproof vest. At 6.50pm police responded to a call that shots were fired in Chapel Street, Marrickville. Police arrived to find Regan lying in a pool of blood with multiple shot wounds which he later succumbed to. One popular theory on what happened that night was that Fred Anderson lured Regan into a meeting with George Freeman. When Regan showed up Freeman, Lennie McPherson and Stan Smith all fired two shots from three .38 revolvers. Police investigating the murder were unable to find the killers as all those with reason to kill him had ironclad alibis and no witnesses came forward. No one was charged with his murder and the investigation grew cold. Regan was 29 years old.