‘I’m dying anyway’: Murderer’s bizarre $10 note confession
THIS is the $10 note used by a Special Emergency Response Team officer to scribble down the confession of a madman who burned down the Childers Palace Backpackers Hostel, killing 15 people.
The written confession, used in court to convict Robert Long of murder, was released to The Courier-Mail by police for the 20th anniversary of the devastating blaze.
"I'm dying anyway, I started that fire," were the words Long believed were his last after a SERT officer fired three shots at him during a violent struggle in which one officer was stabbed in the jaw.
Long, 57, who is eligible for parole this month, fled the hostel after lighting it on fire on June 23, 2000.
Fifteen backpackers - mostly from overseas - died after becoming trapped in the inferno.
In the following days, Long was spotted around town, in packing sheds and even among onlookers outside the smouldering building.
Police cornered him in bushland five days later, by the banks of the Burrum River, after police dog Titan picked up his scent.
SERT Sergeant Glen Damro identified himself and told Long to stay where he was.
But Long pulled a knife and showed it to the officer.
Sgt Damro shouted at him to drop it, but Long came towards him. Titan lunged but so did Long, trying to stab the dog.
Senior Constable Glen Jones arrived a moment later after the officer shouted for help and fired his gun at Long. Three shots.
They all thought he'd been hit - even Long.
Moaning on the ground, he confessed.
Without any paper to write on, one of the officers pulled out a $10 note and recorded Long's words: "I'm dying anyway. I started that fire."
"Mr Long appeared to lapse into unconsciousness and other police arrived very quickly," a Queensland Court of Appeal document reads.
"Long was immediately removed from the area and taken to hospital.
"It transpired that in the opinion of the treating doctor … it was in fact unlikely that any of the injuries observed on Mr Long were gunshot wounds."
Long wasn't dying at all - and his confession would become the subject of much legal argument.
The court ruled his admission had been voluntary and without threat.
He'd made a dying declaration - even though he wasn't dying.
MORE FROM THE SERIES:
- SEVEN COFFINS OF HEATHROW: MOMENT FAMILY'S NIGHTMARE UNRAVELLED' (live Friday June 5 at 5pm)
- HOW SUICIDAL MADMAN GOT AWAY WITH KILLING 13 (live Friday June 5 at 7pm)
- 'I'M DYING ANYWAY': LONG'S BIZARRE $10 NOTE CONFESSION(live Saturday June 6 at midnight)
- MAKINGS OF SUICIDAL MADMAN (live Saturday June 6 at noon)
- 'SNAKY LITTLE BASTARD': INSIDE LONG'S PRISON LIFE (live Sunday June 7 at midnight)
- DEATHLY SCREAMS, SCRAMBLE FOR LIFE: INSIDE AS PALACE EXPLODED (live Sunday June 7 at noon)
'AUSSIE MUM' RISES FROM ASHES FOR TRAUMATISED BACKPACKERS (live Sunday June 7 at noon)
Originally published as 'I'm dying anyway': Long's bizarre $10 note confession