Bill Espie was born in Alice Springs. He was in the Army for six years and remained in Sydney upon completing his service. He joined the Police Force in 1961.
Bill Espie: I think the funniest episode was I was on my way to work when I lived in Liverpool and coming to the intersection, this car was on my right and I noticed two people sitting in the car with ski masks on. And being very astute I thought, well that's funny, it's hot (laughs). So, they had, they were both holding what appeared to be shot guns and I stopped to give way to ‘em, because I couldn't believe my eyes. This was about 10 to 3 (2:50pm) in the afternoon, going to work, afternoon shift. So they turned the corner and stopped a hundred yards up the road outside the Post Office and they both bounded out and sure enough, they both had shot guns. So, I had an old car, an old the Gemini that could hardly run and it was famous around the police and they all knew it was mine. So I stopped just behind this car containing the crooks, so to speak and I said, I'll nab thee when you come out of the Post Office. But I had another bad habit of leaving my gun at home and I realised when I stopped my car and took position behind my car, I didn't have a gun. So I said, I'm not going to be a fool, I'll race across the street and ring for the police to come. By this time they'd come out of the Post Office with bags. So I got... raced back to my car, they had an old car as well and they couldn't start it.
Shirley McLeod: You hadn't fixed it?
Bill Espie: No, but they couldn't start their car. Their car was an old bomb too. You know, real brainy armed robbers. So I said, I'll have thee now. Then their car roared into life, so I got back into my car, I said, I'll follow you. My car wouldn't start because it was a bomb.
Shirley McLeod: Sounds like comic capers.
Bill Espie: Comic capers. And finally it kicked over, their car kicked over, they put it into gear and somersaulted, you know how you jack-knife down the street? And here are these two crooks getting away from me, jack-knifing down the street. I'm in my car jack-knifing after them, we must have done it at no more than 10 kilometres an hour. And in the end my car just blew — just stopped. The engine blew it was so old. They went down the street getting away from me and when they got to the corner they put the old forefinger up into the sky towards me and turned the corner. I was more insulted by the actions of the finger than the robbing.