Tough Nuts: Australia’s Hardest Criminals

CRIME & INVESTIGATION – Thursday 24 November, 7.30pm

Presented by bestselling crime author, Tara Moss, this explosive eight part series blows the lid off Australia’s criminal underworld and reveals the real story behind what made and shaped the most notorious figures in Australian criminal history. This world premiere series features the real stories of the complex and violent relationships between Australia’s most infamous criminals.

Featuring never before seen interviews with psychologists, police detectives, investigative journalists, former criminals and friends and associates of the men in question, combined with cinematic dramatised scenes of pivotal points in the criminals lives, Tough Nuts exposes the facts behind the fiction and offers a revealing and often shocking insight into what these criminals were really like.

Stewart John Regan: The Magician – Multiple murderer, extortionist, pimp, child killer and violent thug, Regan is arguably the most violent and terrifying person in Australian criminal history.

CRIME & INVESTIGATION – Thursday 27 October, 7.30pm

Presented by bestselling crime author, Tara Moss, this explosive eight part series blows the lid off Australia’s criminal underworld and reveals the real story behind what made and shaped the most notorious figures in Australian criminal history. This world premiere series features the real stories of the complex and violent relationships between Australia’s most infamous criminals.

Jockey Smith was one of Australia’s most prolific armed robbers, who shot first and asked questions later. He was a master of disguise, whose one – man crime spree encompassed an audacious prison – break and cold – blooded murder.

CRIME & INVESTIGATION – Thursday 29 September, 7.30pm

Presented by bestselling crime author, Tara Moss, this explosive eight part series blows the lid off Australia’s criminal underworld and reveals the real story behind what made and shaped the most notorious figures in Australian criminal history.

This episode looks at Tilly Devine: Madam Razor – Tilly was a drug dealing brothel madam, a criminal sociopath and Sydney’s Queen of vice, who clawed her way to the top of the city’s sex trade with a razor in her hand.

CRIME & INVESTIGATION – Thursday 25 August, 7.30pm

Presented by bestselling crime author, Tara Moss, this explosive eight part series blows the lid off Australia’s criminal underworld and reveals the real story behind what made and shaped the most notorious figures in Australian criminal history. This world premiere series features the real stories of the complex and violent relationships between Australia’s most infamous criminals.

In this episode explore Ray Denning’s life of crime. Ray’s criminal career began at the age of 15. He continued breaking the law by stealing cars, taking place in an armed robbery, malicious wounding and would later escape Grafton high security prison.

Smash-hit crime series TOUGH NUTS will return bigger and better than ever for a second season on Thursday, June 30 at 7.30pm NZST, exclusive to Crime & Investigation Network.

Best-selling crime author Tara Moss is back to host eight brand new episodes, which will continue to lift the lid off Australia’s criminal underworld and expose the real story behind what made and shaped the most notorious figures in Australian criminal history.

TOUGH NUTS 2 combines compelling interviews with psychologists, police detectives, investigative journalists and associates of the criminals profiled – and brings the characters to life in cinematic-style dramatised scenes.

Each episode delves deeply in to the psyche of these terrifying crims, offering a revealing and often shocking insight in the lives of some of this country’s most vicious underworld identities.

The 8 x 1 hour episodes profile the following criminals: Nikolai Radev, Stan Smith, Ray Denning, Tilly Devine, Jockey Smith, Stewart John Regan, Dino Dibra and George Freeman.

Episode One, premiering on Thursday, June 30 at 7:30pm NZST, profiles Nikolai ‘The Russian’ Radev, a key player in Melbourne’s gangland wars – and a former Bulgarian wrestler who invaded the lives of his extortion victims and terrorised them until they met his demands.

Through extensive research and never-before-seen interviews, Tough Nuts will provide a detailed account of Radev’s terror tactics from several of his victims, including businessman Sedat Ceylan, who was lured to a hotel room in Melbourne and viciously tortured by Radev and his thugs for hours on end.

Tough Nuts also reveals that Radev murdered his neighbour in order to steal his identity, and enable him to continue his crime spree in someone else’s name.

And for the first time on television, former police detective and member of Victorian Police’s Organised Crime Squad, Ben Archbold, tells of his terrifying confrontation with Radev.

Radev’s rampant and brutal crime spree eventually made him a marked man and he was deemed too dangerous to be allowed to live. Radev was executed in broad daylight on April 15, 2003 at the behest of drug lord Carl Williams, with Williams’ devoted assassin, Andrew ‘Benji’ Veniamin, firing the fatal shots.

Featuring dramatised scenes of some of the most revealing and violent moments in Radev’s life, TOUGH NUTS 2 will finally expose the full story behind the man considered to be one of the most abhorrent criminals in Australian underworld history.

TOUGH NUTS 2 is produced by Bryan Cockerill at The Full Box and is exclusive to Crime & Investigation Network.

CRIME & INVESTIGATION – Thursday 27 January, 7.30pm

Lenny McPherson ruled the Sydney crime scene for four decades. A violent and vicious criminal he is arguably the worst of the worst. Tough Nuts: Australia’s Hardest Criminals traces the rise of Lenny McPherson from a street crook to the Mr Big of organised crime and his death behind bars. An imposing and intimidating figure Lenny was powerful and menacing. Like Gangitano, he looked for his role models overseas and based his organisation on the structure of the mafia. Unlike the mafia, however, McPherson survived by becoming an informer or “fizz gig” for police. This way, he avoided prosecution for his crimes. Lenny McPherson was not charged with any offence from 1961 until 1992 while he ran his criminal empire. McPherson killed at least five men by his own hand. And it is believed, Ronald Ryan and Peter Walker, prison escapees were both captured in Sydney after police received information from McPherson.

Sentenced to four years in prison in 1992 for conspiracy to commit assault, McPherson died in jail in 1996.

CRIME & INVESTIGATION – Thursday 27 January, 7.30pm

Lenny McPherson ruled the Sydney crime scene for four decades. A violent and vicious criminal he is arguably the worst of the worst. Tough Nuts: Australia’s Hardest Criminals traces the rise of Lenny McPherson from a street crook to the Mr Big of organised crime and his death behind bars. An imposing and intimidating figure Lenny was powerful and menacing. Like Gangitano, he looked for his role models overseas and based his organisation on the structure of the mafia. Unlike the mafia, however, McPherson survived by becoming an informer or “fizz gig” for police. This way, he avoided prosecution for his crimes. Lenny McPherson was not charged with any offence from 1961 until 1992 while he ran his criminal empire. McPherson killed at least five men by his own hand. And it is believed, Ronald Ryan and Peter Walker, prison escapees were both captured in Sydney after police received information from McPherson. Sentenced to four years in prison in 1992 for conspiracy to commit assault, McPherson died in jail in 1996

CRIME & INVESTIGATION – Thursday 28 October, 7.30pm

Meet Australia’s most wanted man for a record 11 years. Russell “Mad Dog” Cox was a man no prison could hold. He escaped from New South Wales notorious “electronic zoo”, the maximum security Katingal jail. Cox not only escaped Katingal, but returned within hours and helped assist a cell mate escape from its walls. His accomplice and partner during that time was Helen Deane, a nurse and sister in law of Australian criminal mastermind, Raymond “Ray Chuck” Bennett. A murderer and armed robber, he was given the name “Mad Dog” by police due to his propensity to fire shots at his victims and at police when they intervened. Tough Nuts: Australia’s Hardest Criminals obtain a unique insight into his years on the run and his life of crime.

CRIME & INVESTIGATION – Thursday 28 October, 7.30pm

Meet Australia’s most wanted man for a record 11 years. Russell “Mad Dog” Cox was a man no prison could hold. He escaped from New South Wales notorious “electronic zoo”, the maximum security Katingal jail. Cox not only escaped Katingal, but returned within hours and helped assist a cell mate escape from its walls. His accomplice and partner during that time was Helen Deane, a nurse and sister in law of Australian criminal mastermind, Raymond “Ray Chuck” Bennett. A murderer and armed robber, he was given the name “Mad Dog” by police due to his propensity to fire shots at his victims and at police when they intervened. Tough Nuts: Australia’s Hardest Criminals obtain a unique insight into his years on the run and his life of crime.

CRIME & INVESTIGATION – Thursday 30 September, 7.30pm

Dennis Allen was the oldest son of Melbourne crime matriarch, Kath Pettingill. While the remainder of her sons are criminals and some of them vicious killers, not one comes close to the utter brutality of Dennis Allen. His first major crime was appalling in its brutality – the abduction and rape of a 19 year old woman. Serving six years of a nine year sentence, Allen left the prison gates with the contacts to become a major drug dealer. Allen would traffic in amphetamines and heroin and became one of Melbourne’s biggest suppliers. Allen had a way of cutting out his competitors. He became a police informer, making anonymous calls to police to give up his rivals.

When that didn’t work, he turned to murder. He is suspected of committing 11 murders. He knew no loyalty, had no friends and regarded his family as servants to use at his disposal. Tough Nuts develops the profile on Australia’s most sadistic crime lord. A product of an appalling home as a young boy who then received his masters degree in crime while behind the walls of one of Australia’s most notorious prisons, Allen would only know one way: his way or death. Allen died of natural causes while awaiting trial for the murder of James Stanhope, as well as weapons and drug offences. Known to have injected pure amphetamines into his veins, Allen’s heart collapsed under the strain. He was dead at 38 years of age.