Former Canberra Treasury official David Eastman will return to the ACT this week, this time wearing handcuffs, anklets and a green prison uniform.
Eastman is serving life without parole for the murder of assistant Australian Federal Police Commissioner Colin Winchester outside his Canberra home in 1989.
Until now he has been serving his sentence under the supervision of the NSW Corrective Services Department, but with the completion of the ACT’s brand spanking new jail, the Alexander Maconochie Centre, Eastman is on his way home.
Eastman is regarded by prison officers as the most difficult inmate in custody in NSW and news of his transfer generated such elation they even thought of forming a guard of honor to say goodbye.
Since his conviction 14 years ago, Eastman has constantly complained about his treatment. He has filed an avalanche of complaints accusing officers of assault, physical and verbal abuse and improper treatment. Officers in the maximum security area at Goulburn Jail frequently become so distressed during the time they are rostered to supervise Eastman that they need time off to recover.
NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Ron Woodham gave an unusually frank assessment of Eastman’s transfer to the ACT saying: “Good riddance — we can’t wait to get rid of the arseh-le.”
Although convicted of Winchester’s murder, there remains a lingering doubt about whether in fact Eastman was the assassin. Some senior AFP investigators believe that the assistant commissioner was executed by the Italian Mafia whose Australian stronghold was in the Griffith area.
Mafia members controlled the marijuana growing and distribution industry from which they made hundreds of millions of dollars and Winchester became a marked man when he threatened to disclose their relationship with corrupt ACT and NSW police.
The irrational and unstable Eastman, who had once argued violently with Winchester, became the “patsy” when senior levels of the Federal Government demanded that the crime be “solved” and the case closed.
Eastman sacked his own defence team during the trial and behaved so disgracefully that the court decided to lock him up and throw away the key.