Allegations regarding disappearances of Juanita Nielsen and Donald Mackay
It is alleged that Fred Krahe became a criminal for hire after leaving the police force. Investigative journalists David Hickie and Tony Reeves name Krahe as the ringleader/organiser of a gang of “heavies” employed by developer Frank Theeman, who intimidated residents and assaulted protestors during the campaign against Theeman’s high-rise development in Victoria Street, Kings Cross in the early 1970s. In that context, there have been repeated allegations that he was involved in the 1975 disappearance and presumed murder of anti-development campaigner Juanita Nielsen.
There have also been allegations that Krahe was involved in the disappearance and presumed murder of Griffith, New South Wales anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay, in 1977, although the allegation about the Mackay killing was made by notorious Melbourne criminal James Frederick Bazley. Bazley is himself widely believed to have been paid to kill Mackay by infamous Griffith Mafia figure and drug dealer Robert Trimbole. Author John Jiggens claims Fred Krahe was responsible for dispensing, through his Fairfax Media newspaper connections, the rumour that Mackay had not been murdered, but instead ran away with a woman who was not his wife. Jiggens is also a strong proponent of the theory that Krahe murdered Mackay with Keith Kelly, and that Bazley was a patsy.
Defenders of Fred Krahe
Krahe’s memory has had some defenders. One of Australia’s prominent crime reporters of the time, Bill Jenkings, described his former source (and coworker at Fairfax Media) as a ‘clever investigator, who left no stone unturned in his quest to solve the most baffling of cases’, but that, ‘unfortunately, Krahe became far more famous for the crimes he was wrongly alleged to have committed himself’. Jenkings also refused to believe allegations about Krahe’s reputed partner in crime Ray “Gunner” Kelly. In a 1981 letter to the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, Detective Ray Blisset (Queens Police Medal) wrote to express his ‘disgust at the obituary tendered for former Detective Sergeant first Class Frederick Claude Krahe’. He went on to say that during the years he served in the police force he had worked side by side with Krahe, and knew him as a great investigator of crime, and that ‘as a detective he had no peer.’ Blisset showed little regard for the journalists who publicised allegations against Krahe, writing that they should, ‘show respect for all the good he did and not rewrite scandalous rumours to satisfy some salacious minds’.
Lenny McPherson himself, giving testimony in 1983 at the Juanita Neilsen inquest, told the court, ‘I didn’t like Fred Krahe. He arrested me hundreds of times. If I had any information (on him) I would be giving it to you’. It was at this inquest that McPherson strongly denied telling two police officers, one Commonwealth, one New South Wales, that he’d heard that Krahe had murdered Mrs. Nielsen, an allegation that was quoted initially by journalists Barry Ward and Tony Reeves in an article in the National Times.