SUPERINTENDENT Adam Purcell has suggested someone may have "taken quids" to talk a Finnish backpacker out of pursuing a gang rape complaint and enticed her to leave the country.
And in a secretly recorded conversation he mused that Gavin Wood, then Waverley inspector and fellow assistant manager of the NSW State of Origin, might have been the one.
In the conversation, played at the Police Integrity Commission hearing into the matter yesterday, Mr Purcell told a colleague he was worried "someone did take quids to talk [the alleged victim] out of it and get her on a plane".
"I never met her. I don't know who she is. They got her to lay down," he said.
The alleged rape took place after the woman had been socialising with the first grade player, Bryan Fletcher, and others.
After wondering why Mr Wood did not wish to speak to him after they were both summoned to appear at the commission, Mr Purcell said: "Has he taken quids and has he then decided to put me up … Gavin Wood. Close to the wind …Woody is a f---ing tower of Jello."
The commission is investigating whether there had been any police misconduct or criminal activity in connection with the investigation of the alleged rape in November 2004.
The woman told police she had gone home with some men, and started having consensual sex with one, when up to eight men appeared and raped her.
She later told police she did not wish to proceed with the matter, and left the country within days of the incident.
Fletcher was identified as one of the men who had taken a taxi with the woman from the city to the house where the alleged attack took place.
Yesterday the commission widened its terms of reference to include whether Mr Purcell had "been involved in serious misconduct or criminal activity in relation to the release of confidential police information".
This came as Mr Purcell was asked about contradictions in his evidence, and had to explain why he had not told the commission the details of his contact with Fletcher, Fletcher's former coach Ricky Stuart and the man believed to have orchestrated the alleged rape - codenamed Mal 12.
Mr Purcell had told the commission on Wednesday that he had contacted Stuart to get Fletcher's telephone number. He said he had not told him why he wanted to speak to Fletcher, and had not contacted him again.
But yesterday the commission revealed that Mr Purcell rang Stuart shortly after meeting Fletcher at Bondi police station and spoke with him for about 4½ minutes. Stuart told the commission that Mr Purcell had told him earlier in the day about the alleged rape and Fletcher's possible involvement, and he had then told Fletcher. Mr Purcell has also told the commission he discussed the status of the police investigation with South Sydney's chief executive officer, Shane Richardson, and Fletcher's wife.
Two months ago he discussed the matter with his former colleague, detective-sergeant Alison Brazel, in a secretly recorded conversation.
Mr Purcell told her that Mal 12 had revealed to him in July 2006 that the alleged victim performed oral sex on Fletcher outside Mal 12's house, before having sex with Mal 12 and his brother, Mal 13, inside the house. When she withdrew her consent, Fletcher left, Mr Purcell said.
Yesterday Mal 12 briefly appeared before the commission. He said he could not remember the events of the night, or the conversation with Mr Purcell.
In another recorded conversation with an unnamed police superintendent two days before he was first due to appear at the commission, Mr Purcell revealed that he worried about some football tickets Fletcher had given him. "I've got nothing to roll 'cause nothing happened. That's exactly, my tickets are a pain in the arse," he said. "Hang me for the tickets. I took three, to a trial match … I've copped tickets … it'll look bad … three months later."
Mr Purcell told the colleague that he did not want to tell the commission about the tickets.
He was asked by counsel assisting the commission, Michael King, SC about the conversation:
"Well, you were running a version of the events past him just to see if it made sense, weren't you, Mr Purcell?"
He replied: "No, I was telling him the truth, and it is quite obvious that the things that I've told him there are exactly corroborated with what you've told this commission, either in a private hearing or in the public hearing."
The hearings continue.
A police spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that Mr Purcell was on leave from his job as commander of Hurstville police station. "He has not been stood down by the service," she said.