LANCASHIRE EVENING POST
The Killing of Mr Asia
The 'Mr Big' with fortune of £50 million
HE WAS Mr Big - the man who made millions by dealing in drugs, and the man who aimed to stay at the top of his sinister world by dealing in death.
He was the so-called Angel of Death who offered cunning and corruption as the twin weapons with which to fight the combined police forces of Australasia.
But the Angel came down to earth when Lancashire police swooped on the luxury £250-a-week Kensington apartment he had rented to mastermind the "English Connection".
Terence Alexander Sinclair had found wealth in an evil trade. He once boasted he couldn't even spend the interest on a personal fortune of £25 million.
But it wasn't always like that for the one-time welder born 36 years ago in New Zealand.
He was a small-time crook, first coming to the attention of the police at 18, as Terry Clark, appearing in court at regular intervals between 1962 and 1971, when, on his ninth appearance he was jailed for five years for burglary and receiving.
He had married at the age of 20, to a childhood sweetheart but was divorced in the second year of his sentence. The following year he remarried - in the prison chapel.
His best man was Errol Hicksman, the New Zealander who was to become his trusted lieutenant and who stood with him in the dock at Lancaster Castle.
His bride was a telephonist who was to die from a drugs overdose in September 1977, as was another girlfriend of Clark, just three weeks later.
Clark liked what he heard during those years inside. After his release he was to become a cannabis customer of Mr Asia Marty Johnstone.
Then he moved into the big league. Cocaine and heroin were to become his stock in trade. In 1975 he was named in court as the brains behind a massive £50,000 heroin shipment into Auckland - the biggest the country had known.
One of several police identity make-ups of a master of disguise.
He was arrested but skipped bail and vanished to Australia where he was to spend two profitable years before being picked up after a marijuana raid, fined and deported for possessing a revolver and suspected stolen cash.
Back in New Zealand the prospect of many years behind bars faced Clark. But at his trial he was acquitted..... and later it was rumoured that he had spent £120,000 "buying" witnesses and "preparing" his case.
Freedom for Clark was the signal to delve into the massive hidden reserves he had built up. He bought a prestige house overlooking the Bay of Islands on New Zealand's North Island for close on £250,000. Soon he was to be seen in a white Jaguar sports car.
It was all go with his new image - of a man who had successfully rehabilitated himself after his earlier problems. So too was his change of name to Terence Alexander Sinclair, charged here as Alexander James.
He bought prime beach property at Fiji worth more than £50,000. He is reported to have paid four years fees in advance for his son from his first marriage to attend a top New Zealand school.
But Sinclair was handing out lessons of his own. Doug and Isobel Wilson, recruited by Sinclair to help distribute heroin, were found dead in a shallow grave near Melbourne after turning police informants.
At their inquest a warrant was issued for the arrest of Sinclair for murder.
A master of disguise - Sinclair could easily look like a man in his fifties - and armed with a stock of false passports and up to 23 aliases, crossing the globe was no problem. He jetted to Singapore, Britain and America.
In Britain he knew he his evil expertise could earn him more and more millions from drugs. But there was another thorn in his side - another security risk. That man was Marty Johnstone.
Sinclair described as "very decent and considerate" by Karen Soich's mother, could not have dreamed a team of Lancashire detectives would burst into his Kensington flat a fortnight after the gruesome discovery of Johnstone's body.
But as the New Zealand Inland Revenue Dept lodged a claim for £300,000 dollars back tax, the trappings of wealth remained even in his cell as a category 'A' prisoner on remand at Strangeways. Not for him prison food. Every day he paid for meals to be brought in from a top hotel. So was the wine - and best cigars.
But was his confidence on the wane? The man described by the head of homicide at Melbourne as having "money coming out of his ears" found one Lancashire detective exceedingly deaf when he asked him to get three tickets to South America.
Was the man who never thought he would be caught suddenly seeing the future as life behind bars in Britain - prison food and all?
He WAS Mr Big...