Episode Five of TOUGH NUTS: AUSTRALIA’S HARDEST CRIMINALS premieres on Thursday, October 28 at 7.30pm AEDT and profiles one of Australia’s most notorious and successful criminals, Russell ‘Mad Dog’ Cox.
Born in 1949 as Melville Peter Schnitzerling, Russell Cox went from bike thief at age nine to Australia’s most wanted man for a record 11 years.
Known as one of Australia’s best armed robbers, his criminal mates called him ‘The Fox’, but to police and journalists he was Russell ‘Mad Dog’ Cox.
Cox was sentenced to life after a failed 1975 escape bid from Long Bay, during which he kidnapped two warders at gunpoint. He was then incarcerated in the notorious Katingal Unit at Long Bay Jail. Katingal was a maximum security prison that was dubbed the ‘electric zoo’ and said to be escape-proof.
But Cox proved to be a criminal no prison could hold and he escaped Katingal in November 1977. His incredible escape is explained in detail in this episode of TOUGH NUTS.
A master of disguise, Cox remained on the run for the next 11 years, accompanied by his partner Helen Deane, a nurse and also the sister-in-law of Australian criminal mastermind Raymond ‘Ray Chuck’ Bennett.
But in 1988, Cox’s luck ran out and he was captured in a shoot-out in Melbourne and imprisoned once again.
Cox went on to become a reformed character – in his final stint in jail, he decided to remain behind bars and assist in the young offenders’ scheme, helping young inmates on the road to a life free of crime.
Cox was released from prison on December 8, 2004 and now lives a quiet existence on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Presented by bestselling crime author Tara Moss, TOUGH NUTS is an eight-part series that 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.
The series profiles a different criminal in each episode and features, in order: Christopher Dale Flannery, Chow Hayes, Alphonse Gangitano, Dennis Allen, Russell Cox, Michael Sayers, Raymond Bennett and Lenny McPherson.
TOUGH NUTS is produced by Bryan Cockerill from The Full Box and is exclusive to Crime & Investigation Network.