Filthy Rat

By Simon Illingworth

"Criminals began killing each other on the streets in broad daylight and police were being ferried into court charged with allegations of involvement in organised crime. Despite my reservations, I knew I had to do something. I simply resigned myself to the fact that I was a dead man walking."

A unique insight into the frightening world of Melbourne's gangland killings and rampant police corruption, by an officer who refused to turn a blind eye.


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As Melbourne's gangland war gathered momentum during the late 1990s, another battle was being fought within the police force by one brave cop. Young detective sergeant Simon Illingworth had joined the force to serve the public and make a difference. But soon he discovered the price of standing up against police corruption was isolation and death threats. Watching Melbourne's toughest killers working alongside his own filthy colleagues made him sick to the guts.

A spate of events finally sent him to the point of no return. He was brutally bashed - not by crooks but other policemen from an entrenched corrupt brotherhood. A witness preparing to give court evidence against police was then found dead in an execution-style murder. And an underworld crim with access to Simon Illingworth's address was caught in possession of eight guns, night vision goggles and a silencer.

Fearing for his life, in May 2004 this brave copper quit his job and went public about the crisis facing the police force, in an episode of ABC Television's Australian Story that stopped the nation.

Filthy Rat is a brutally honest and action-packed account of the fight against Melbourne's gangland crooks and the corrupt cops who were in their pockets. Simon Illingworth's decision to speak out would change the face of the Australian justice system forever. 


"I am thirty-eight years old and too young to be writing an autobiography. But every time I look in the mirror I am reminded of the seventeen-year war I've waged with the true rats of our society - the corrupt cops and the underworld gangsters."

“Simon Illingworth is a hero”
Robert Doyle, Victorian Opposition Leader

“That f-cking maggot”
Ex-underworld crim


About the Author

Simon Illingworth risked everything to first reveal his story on a moving episode of Australian Story.


He left the police force after 4 years working with police internal affairs in Victoria, rooting out crooked officers. He now runs his own company, Ethical Strength, and is the recipient of a bravery award from the Governor of Victoria.