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Fremantle Prison and Brenden James Abbott- Postcard Bandit
You won't see this man for many years.
Fugitive did not visit Fremantle Prison while on the run
While visiting Fremantle Prison in 1992 I came across the visitors book when leaving, I grabbed a pen and then a devious thought hit me like a bomb.
I was visiting the prison as a tourist though, it had closed in 1988 and was now a tourist attraction, you could pay to do a tour. This was the prison where the last man hanged in Western Australia met his final days. The murderer Eric Edgar Cook took more than five lives in his murderous spree in the late 60's. At this jail you can see where he spent his last hours and the gallows where they stretched his neck
At the time Brenden James Abbott was in all the news with his exploits around Australia robbing banks as the Postcard Bandit. He was Australias most wanted man, he had robbed banks in more than four states, and stolen over 4 million dollars and their was a manhunt going on for him Australia wide. There was a legend, or rumour going around that he sent postcards to the cops from a lot of the places where he was hiding, it's not true though!
Being a fairly well known writer and musician, and a bit of a comedian, I decided to sign the visitors book "B. Abbett". In the comments section I wrote, "Great to come back and not have to escape!", in the address section I wrote, "Nowhere you'd find" all in capitals.
At the time I was not aware that Abbott had in fact escaped from Fremantle Prison earlier, when he was serving time there, by making prison guards uniforms where he worked in the tailors shop, and then jumping the wall with some other prisoners.
My prank was discovered by myself several years later, when the book and movie of the same name "The Postcard Bandit" came out. Lo and behold there is a scene in the movie where all of the heads of the armed robbery squads had got together in an office in Queensland to decide what to do about Abbott and his bank robbing exploits.
At this stage it was believed Abbott was travelling around the country and robbing banks in every state but Tasmania. Anyway all the cops are in this office, and a secretary bursts into the room with a fax and announces in a shocked tone "Abbott is in Western Australia, he has just signed the Fremantle Prison visitors book". At this news all the cops scurried off by plane back to Western Australia. Alas these shrewd and intelligent cops did not realise that the joke was on them and it was actually myself who signed the book.
Anyway, after seeing my prank appear in the book and the movie, and the effect it had on the police investigation, I contacted the producers of the movie and sent them a hand writing sample. It was confirmed it was me who did (or wrote) the hilarious deed and it was announced on Channel 10's TV comedy show "The Panel" starring Rob Sitch,Tom Gleisner, Glenn Robbins, Santo Cilauro, Steven Quartermain and Mick Molloy, that I was the funny prankster that changed history with a few pen strokes.
As they say the pen is mightier than the sword. I have contacted Abbott in prison by letter to tell him it was me but he has failed to contact me, after all I don't think he would see the funny side of it, having to serve 39 years in solitary and then when he gets out he has to face other armed robbery charges in many other states.
Ironically a few years after this I met Brenden Abbotts brother Glenn Salmon but had forgotten about the visitors book incident as the movie "Postcard Bandit" was not yet produced.