Police Life: The Experts podcast, Episode 3: How to catch a crook transcript

Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott is a shining example of the hundreds of investigators that work hard to solve crimes in their local areas across the state of Victoria. 

Tracy walks us through how she hunted down and brought to justice the men responsible for a chaotic stabbing attack in the border town of Wodonga.

Listen to this episode and other episodes of Victoria Police's official podcast, Police Life: The Experts.

Transcript of Police Life: The Experts podcast, Episode 3: How to catch a crook

Voiceover: You’re listening to Police Life: The Experts, a Victoria Police podcast shining a light on our people and their extraordinary skills.

Voiceover: This podcast episode contains references to physical violence. Listener discretion is advised.

The lifestyles of Victorian regional detectives are very different to their counterparts in Melbourne, but the work is just as busy and intense. And the bush offers unique challenges – like when you’re stationed in Wodonga on the border with New South Wales in Victoria’s north east. 

The Murray River divides a population of 100,000 people, spread between the twin towns of Wodonga and Albury across the border. 

Like the rest of the locals, the crooks move back and forth across the border every day.

[Upbeat intro music plays and fades out as spoken audio comes in]

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: My name is Tracy Jarrott and I'm a detective leading senior constable here at Wodonga Police Station. I've been a Victoria Police member now for over 22 years and at the moment I'm working in the crime investigation unit here at Wodonga.

So we're fairly unique here in Wodonga because we do have those cross-border issues and we work very well with our New South Wales counterparts in Albury and we have to because our criminals are their criminals. You can drive for five minutes and you're in another state. 

So yes, our criminals cross the border regularly and hide. That river, that Murray River, gets in between our investigations on a regular basis.

Voiceover: The border comes up in so many areas of Tracy’s work. It even played a role in Tracy joining Victoria Police when she was actually born and raised on the New South Wales side of the river.

[Guitar music plays in background as audio transitions from voiceover to Tracy]

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: So I'm from a small country town called Culcairn, and that's about half an hour north of Albury, so between Albury and Wagga Wagga.

Town of 1000 people and in saying that, Culcairn, we have had probably more than the average amount of people come out of Culcairn join the police force.

So, I didn't join New South Wales Police at that time because living here on the border, Melbourne is all always a lot closer – so we're four hours away compared to Sydney, which is six hours away.

And New South Wales obviously being a lot larger state than Victoria, there's a lot more places to be transferred to than what it would be if you're here in Victoria. So that's, that's the main reason why I joined Victoria.

Voiceover: Tracy joined Victoria Police in 2001, leaving Sydney and a very different career to join the job.  

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: I joined the police force when I was 30 years of age. And so prior to that, I was working in the fashion industry. I was working as a pattern maker. I still do a bit of sewing at home and whatnot as more a hobby. I'm always taking up pants and things like that for people on the side – there's always something that somebody wants done. 

And this is something that I'd always wanted to do, just hadn't got there so I thought it was time that I joined. And so obviously joined the Academy back in 2001 and, from there, did a little bit of time in Melbourne after the Academy and then I got a position here at Wodonga Police Station.

Worked uniform duties here in Wodonga for many years, still with a lot of members who are currently serving here. Learnt from them and then I did a lot of temp duties throughout the station in what was then the sex offence and child abuse unit.

 And I did temp duties at the criminal investigation unit, the divisional tasking unit, which was a plainclothes unit mainly targeting drug dealers, that sort of thing. And then after doing so many temp duties everywhere I decided, well that's the path for me, I wanted to be a detective.

Voiceover: To become a qualified detective, officers must have been serving for at least three years and must head back to the Victoria Police Academy for the Advanced Diploma of Police Investigation.

The 12 to 18-month course is a mix of classroom and on-the-job training where they learn things such as crime scene and evidence management, interview techniques, forensic procedures, using covert support services and court proceedings.

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: Certainly wouldn't say it was an easy process to become a detective that at that time. You pretty much had to wait for somebody to retire before you could actually apply for a job. So jobs were very few and far between, so when you did apply, you had to take what you could get, and particularly in the country.

So I pursued that and it was back in 2012 when I got my detective’s position and that was at Wangaratta Sex Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team. So I spent a couple of years down there before I came back to Wodonga – closer to home from where I was living – at the crime investigation unit.

Voiceover: Tracy joined a team of six detectives investigating about 400 matters a year. Wodonga Crime Investigation Unit is one of 58 CIUs operating across the state.

It didn’t take Tracy long to make an impression as a detective.

Audio of Inspector Paul Henry: My name's Paul Henry. I'm a inspector at Wodonga. I'm the local area commander, and Tracy is one of the detective senior constables attached to Wodonga Crime Investigation Unit.

Voiceover: Paul, like many of his colleagues in the area, has said he considers himself a card-carrying member of the Tracy Jarrott fan club. 

Audio of Inspector Paul Henry: There's been quite a number of investigations that Tracy and her fellow colleagues have encountered where they are required to do a lot more than what might be required of a divisional detective in the metro areas.

So what makes Wodonga policing in general and Wodonga Crime Investigation Unit different is that they have to make really good arrangements and stakeholder engagement with Albury detectives office. Sometimes this can be challenging and there's always a bit of a balance between how much information we share across state borders and making sure that we also comply with our own processes.

There's a real series of challenges that people like Tracy and the entire office will have to encounter and overcome.

Voiceover: After ten years working as an investigator in this border region, Tracy has honed her skills for these local conditions.

A case from November 2021 demonstrates her tenacity on behalf of her victims and the community.  

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: So our day-to-day work is volume crime, well, what we call volume crime. So our burglaries, our theft of motor vehicles, theft from motor vehicles – particularly series – our fraud investigations and serious assaults. So that would be our day-to-day, but having someone's life hanging in the balance isn't something that we would deal with on a daily basis.

So on this particular morning, I was notified of an assault that had occurred and that was around about 9am that morning in relation to a stabbing incident here in Wodonga.

Voiceover: Tracy is back on the scene of that stabbing. The victim was a 27-year-old man named Tyler Woods. 

It’s raining just as it was that morning.

[Rain, car and road noises can be heard behind talking]

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: So when I drive to the street what I remember is the ambulance being parked on the street here to my right and the ambulance officers out treating Tyler, who was on the ground just near that bush that’s situated over there on the corner and they were trying to stabilise him enough to be able to get him to into the ambulance to get him off to hospital for emergency treatment.

It was a fairly chaotic scene at the time. People everywhere, children who had unfortunately witnessed the incident as well. People wanting to give their version of events, neighbours out trying to assist Tyler with emergency treatment or that first aid. Uniform members taping off the scene and starting to work out what had actually occurred.

Voiceover: At first, Tracy thought this job could end up as a murder.  

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: He certainly had life threatening injury at that stage, even though it was one stab wound, it had affected his internal organs. So, he had to be stabilised and he'd actually stopped breathing several times throughout from the scene to getting him to hospital and once he got to hospital. 

So, it's full credit to the hospital staff and the ambulance officers who were able to revive him at the hospital to get him into surgery.

Tyler Woods just happened to be moving back to his sister's address that day at the location where this incident happened. So, his brother, Callum Woods, was the actual intended target of this incident.

Voiceover: Callum had been at the address when Tyler was stabbed but, when Tracy arrived at the scene, he had already taken off in a car.

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: So, both Tyler and Callum's partners were there, well, actually the sister of the two brothers and Callum's partner were there and that's when we started to get information from them as well as witnesses out on the street, who were there to assist Tyler.

So, me being the detective there, I'm in charge of the scene. So, using the resources that I have there, available to me, what we did was a neighbour canvas. So, I had the uniform members go and do a door knock and, once they found people who were willing to speak to us, take statements. 

And there was one particular neighbour who was able to provide us with a photograph of something suspicious that she had seen, being a vehicle that had been parked in in her driveway, which was very unusual. And that certainly started our investigation and corroborated what our witnesses and victims were saying at the time.

Voiceover: After the scene had been brought under control by general duties police, Tracy began to calmly assemble a narrative of what had happened from the witnesses. 

[Suspenseful music plays behind voice]

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: So, it was very chaotic. There was two males there confronting them with knives and there was screaming, chaotic neighbours coming out to see what was going on. 

These two men being chased down the street by two other offenders with knives in their hands. We had the sister and partner of the two victims standing there screaming.

So, Anthony Carroll and Kade Bartel, they were the two offenders in this matter and it was Kade who was in the stolen vehicle that turned up at the address, driving. He took Anthony there so he could confront Callum Woods 

Voiceover: The pair had been sent there because Callum was believed to owe money to someone else.

[Background music changes to slower suspenseful music]

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: It went downhill from there. These two males went over there, confronted Callum, and they had face masks on to cover their identity at that time.

Because I've been doing this job for so long, you have people come in and out – it's like a revolving door here at the police station sometimes. And particularly Anthony Carroll, he was definitely well known to me as a long-term criminal and particularly his family’s enterprises. And then Bartel, well he was certainly well known on both sides of the border here and his criminal offending as well. 

So, knowing a lot about both offenders anyway, it was a good start for me to know where places may be to start looking to find these people. I had to try and track down both offenders and by doing that using some of our police techniques, as well as talking to some of our local sources to try and get that information. 

So, in the circumstances, we were concerned about any sort of reprisals against our victims or our victims taking matters into their own hands, which is certainly something that Callum had indicated initially when he was quite heightened. So that was a concern for us as well, that Callum was going to take matters into his own hands, search for these people – particularly for retribution in relation to what's happened to his brother.

So, because Tyler's life was still in danger and we didn't know if he was going to live or die at that time, because as the days progressed, there was more and more complications that were happening with Tyler, in and out of surgery.

We wanted to be able to find these people and act very quickly, make swift arrests because I think that has a huge community impact when, as police officers, we're able to act quickly and get a result.

So, I had to have a very detailed investigation happening, just in case I did have to hand it over to the Homicide Squad at some stage, because they're the ones who would ultimately deal with that type of scenario if Tyler did pass away.

Voiceover: With Tyler’s life hanging in the balance, Tracy had to be prepared for every eventuality. And this is where Tracy’s strengths as a detective shone through. Among police throughout Victoria’s north east, she is renowned for her peerless attention to detail. 

Audio of Inspector Paul Henry: She's a good investigator, she is very thorough, and she is very victim-centric.

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: DTS, Detective Training School and things like that, is notes, notes, notes. So, because you just never know when you're going to rely upon those notes, little things, like if the light was on in a room or something like that in a crime scene. Sketches. So, I've got a copy of my notes here from this particular incident.

[Sound of a paper page being turned]

And like I've drawn a sketch, so I am very thorough through my work because I don't like to do things over, I don't have to redo things. And they've always said that the shortest note outlives the longest memory and that's what I've always learned throughout my career, so I am very meticulous with my note taking and investigation. 

I mightn’t be the fastest detective in the world when it comes to that – however, it will always be right and I'll always have the information. 

Voiceover: Fortunately, after several days, Tyler’s condition improved and he was out of danger. 

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: So as the days progressed and things started to get a little bit better from that information that we're provided by his mum, it was certainly a relief that he wasn't going to pass away at that time. And I was actually looking forward to when I could actually go to the hospital and speak to him and get a version of events from him because, most cases we get our information from the victims.

So we obviously had information from our witnesses and Callum, however, what actually happened to Tyler, nobody actually saw because when the actual stabbing incident happened, they were behind a bush. 

So I wanted to particularly get that information from Tyler about Kade Bartel's actions to know what charges I could actually charge him with or proceed with. Whether it was actually going to be an attempted murder at that stage, we weren't sure. 

Tyler was very cooperative. He wanted us to find these people and take them to court. He wanted justice to be done. 

Carroll was the first person to be arrested, and that was only because he came over to Victoria, back to Wodonga, in that stolen vehicle – in the same vehicle. His face covering was pulled down during the assault, Callum was able to identify him at the scene. When we located Carroll, we conducted a search of his personal property and the same face covering that he used during the offence was still in his property, so he was actually still wearing it at the time when we arrested him. 

It was like a bandana that he was still wearing around his neck. It was a black balaclava with a white skull type thing, so it was quite unique as well to start off with, which certainly assisted with identification when we located him, when it was still around his neck.

 So Bartel, again using some of our police techniques, we were able to track him down to an address in Albury. So that female who started all this, he was with her at the time – staying with her and it was with at an Airbnb in Albury. 

So, this is where we relied a lot upon our New South Wales counterparts, knowing locations where this female might be, tracking her down to this particular address and then we had them sitting off this address, conducting surveillance on the address. 

And it was when she actually left the address, New South Wales Police intercepted her and found her in possession of drugs, cash, et cetera, for which she was dealt with in New South Wales in relation to that.  

And then the New South Wales Police searched that premises and actually found Bartel inside and in his possession he had a knife, which was obviously huge interest to me at that time, Tyler having been stabbed, that knife, it could have been the assault weapon. 

So, I did that and I had our Victoria Police Forensic Service Centre conduct an examination on that knife for possible blood or DNA relating to my victim. However, there was none found to indicate that that was the weapon used to stab Tyler.  

Voiceover: In normal circumstances, with both suspects in custody, Tracy would have conducted interviews with them, but the Murray River intervened. The complexities of the cross-border investigation meant Tracy had to go to court to charge them before they were found and arrested. This process meant they could only be interviewed if they consented.  

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: With both offenders not giving me an interview, I always go back to what I learned at the Academy. There was a particular Sergeant Narelle Beer, she was our law instructor, and Narelle always said to us, “If all you've got is your interview, you've got nothing." 

So, even though an interview is good to get a person's version of events if they want to, and sometimes we do get admissions through that process. However, to get it to court, we shouldn't be relying upon our interview. It's up to us to do that police work and get that evidence to be able to support the charges.  

I was able to keep them in custody whilst I continued that investigation. Being able to gather more statements, looking for that CCTV footage that we may have missed, gathering evidence from New South Wales about what was happening in relation to Bartel being over there and phone records, being able to download phone records that type of thing, for placing them in certain areas to get them to be part of that police brief. 

Voiceover: Tracy also had a wealth of forensic material to process in the stolen Hyundai Santa Fe the suspects had driven to the scene of the stabbing – 22 items in total.  

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: I had the Major Crime Unit come from Melbourne to actually process that stolen car. That was crucial to get evidence linking both my offenders to that car, because I could place that car at the scene, but I needed that evidence to place those two people inside of that car. So, there was fingerprints located in the vehicle that we were able to link to my offenders, which again, that's crucial to be able to place them, well to be connected with that car. 

Voiceover: Tracy had witness statements putting the two suspects on the scene. This was corroborated by the evidence found in the vehicle. It added up to a strong brief she could bring to the prosecutor for court. Faced with such overwhelming evidence, Tracy hoped the offenders would plead guilty to minimise the impact of this incident on the community. 

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: So that's always beneficial, particularly for the court and our community. Because of the serious nature of this offending, we have to go to the county court, which means it would be heard in front of a judge and a jury which impacts our community when you've got to be on jury duty. 

So, for me, to have that overwhelming evidence, to be able to get those pleas, that negotiation – it's something that you've got to continually work with the Office of Public Prosecutions with, and the Office of Public Prosecutions obviously having those negotiations with defence. And I think in these circumstances, there was enough evidence to be able to get it across the line to say that, “Yeah, these people have done this crime”. 

Voiceover: The two suspects faced different consequences. Carroll had been on the scene and was part of the attack. Like his co-accused, he was armed with a knife, but Bartel had actually caused the injury to Tyler. He was facing a longer sentence than Carroll.   

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: So, with Anthony he pled guilty earlier on, he had other matters outstanding as well and he was sentenced in the county court. Because Bartel was the actual stabber, he remained in custody for a lot longer. 

He did get a sentence indication early on, if he was to plead guilty, and that sentence indication was seven years imprisonment, which is why he decided to take the matter to trial, to run it just to see if he could get a better deal and that's why it ended up going to the trial process. However, he pled guilty on that first day of the trial.

 With Bartel, he heard the facts and circumstances whilst he's sitting in the dock in the courtroom. He didn't realise how serious the injuries were to Tyler. And that was something I heard him say to his defence team after all the remarks were read out during the court – that he wasn't aware of how serious it was.

 So I was in court, part of the negotiations and it was a great result to get that plea on that first day so then I could let everyone know that they didn't have to appear in court, because it was going to save a lot of heartache for our victims and witnesses if they didn't have to appear in court to give that evidence to re-live the pain and suffering of this particular incident. People get very nervous when you tell them, “You're required in court”. 

So, you know this is a couple of years on and we're getting it to court and we've got witnesses who have moved on, don't want any part of it. So that's why it's important to be able to get those pleas as well for those people.

Voiceover: Kade Bartel was sentenced to six years jail for stabbing Tyler. Anthony Carroll received two years jail for his role in the incident and some other unrelated charges. Violent attacks send shockwaves through a small community like Wodonga, so Tracy and fellow investigators place a high price on resolving such incidents.

 [Soft music plays behind speaking] 

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: It's very important that we get justice for our victims because, again, it gives the community that reassurance that the people are here to protect them. And a lot of the times with our media, we like to report that the parties are known to each other so that we don't have the community concerned that we just have random targets in our community. 

A lot of the times we know who's committed these crimes. However, just being able to get the evidence to be able to support that, to get the charges over the line, to get it to court – it's very frustrating because we can’t, because we don't have that evidence. 

I always like to think of myself as firm but fair and that's again comes down to all that community trust and the trust that you've got to build up with these people that you're dealing with on a regular basis. 

And once you've been here in this community for a long time, like, the criminals call me by my first name. So, you'll see them down the street or something like that and they'll go, “Hello, Tracy”. 

Because you are part of the community, they're part of the community. So, that's why you have to be fair with everyone and treat them with respect, because if you treat them with respect, you get that respect back. 

And there are times when, yes, they will then assist you when you need information.It comes back to that rapport building, communication and just building those relationships with people. 

Audio of Inspector Paul Henry: I always found that the interaction that a member of the public – whether they be a witness, victim or a suspect, criminal – they always pick up where the last member of the police force left off. So, the relationship is really important that we actually treat people with respect, even though they might be criminals.

 Voiceover: It’s the strong relationships Tracy has built in her community that have helped her thrive, both on- and off-duty.

Audio of Detective Leading Senior Constable Tracy Jarrott: Look, country life, we're all here for lifestyle purposes in the country – small community, local sporting teams, your 10-minute drive to work, not being stuck in traffic, family close by, good friends, good food, good wine. It's all very close to this region and there's reasons why every single one of us here work here in this particular area.

 To be honest, I can't imagine doing anything else. This was obviously my calling for a very long time and it took me a while to get there, but once I was there, I just seemed to blossom.

And from the respect that I was able to get from my colleagues, being what we refer to as a good operator, that was what I was aiming to be. To learn. I was a quick learner and I loved what I was doing, it was exciting. 

You'd go home at night in those early days and your head would just be spinning about what's happened during the day so yeah, it was just all very exciting.

I believe that I was always meant to do this.

Voiceover: To learn more about the work of Victoria Police, go to police.vic.gov.au. 

And a reminder that if any of the themes in this episode have had an impact on you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If life is in danger, call Triple Zero (000).

Police Life: The Experts is a Victoria Police production. 

Your host is Belinda Batty. It was written by Adam Shand. 

Additional writing and research by Jesse Wray-McCann. 

It was produced by Adam Shand and Jesse Wray-McCann.

The senior producer was Ros Jaguar. 

Audio production and original music by Mat Dwyer.

Theme song by Veaceslav Draganov. 

Executive produced by Beck Angel. 

This podcast was created by the Media, Communications and Engagement Department at Victoria Police.