There are bad bastards, and then there is Windale boy Richard Jason Reay.
So say senior police and jail sources across two states who have been unfortunate enough to have had dealings with the man with a reputation for extreme violence which few, if any, could claim.
Even in the sometimes life and death world of crime and prison, rarely has a man been at the centre of so many reports involving unprovoked mayhem.
There are at least 41 incidents on his Queensland corrective services history for smashing up cells, bashing prison guards and inmates, and other intimidatory behaviour that prompted Queensland bureaucrats to question whether to lay further charges because he should be the problem of their southern neighbours.
His reputation caused specific changes to cells that housed him, his interaction with other people became almost non-existent and when he had to be moved over the border it became a police operation performed with teams of officers and military precision.
Assessments warned of him killing or maiming people who came into contact with him.
Even the no-nonsense NSW Corrective Services commissioner Ron Woodham, who has sole discretion when it comes to who is sent to the infamous Supermax at Goulburn, had no second thoughts on sending him to the prison that houses the worst of the worst.
Reay’s legend may well have begun with the crime that is now the last to have been dealt with.
His history does not appear to show a man with a great criminal mind, more a person with a trigger point that turns on instant bouts of extreme violence.
In 2002 he was charged with nine counts of assaulting an officer in the execution of his duty at Goulburn.
Reay’s last conviction involved him turning up as muscle at a Windale house in 2003 and scaring away the people he was supposed to, only to smash a baseball bat across the jaw of one of the people he was meant to be protecting.
Police also investigated whether he was responsible for another attack days later where a man was badly beaten with a bike chain, although no charges have ever been laid.
Reay took off to Queensland not long after, and not long after that found himself in that state’s jail system after being sentenced to more than five years on charges including deprivation of liberty and being armed with intent.
And that is where the legend gets a kick along.
After being arrested on April 27, 2003, he was charged with three counts of assault on April 28 and April 29.
It continues like this: April 30 (two counts of wilful damage and serious assault); May 7 (assault); June 10 (assault); October 10 (assault). And it goes on until June 20, 2009, with another assault conviction.
A detailed Queensland prison report said that Reay ‘‘displays compulsive behaviour patterns ... such as exercising, simulating grave digging, creating bodies from a mattress, [and he] continually masturbates in full view of a security camera in his cell’’.
The simulated grave digging could go on for hours.
The rest of his exercise regime, including thousands of push-ups and sit-ups daily, was videotaped so the strongest and fittest of the guards could try to match it.
None of them succeeded.
‘‘He had a penchant for punching concrete walls just so he could harden up his hands and arms,’’ one source said.
Reay was placed on a maximum security order in October 2003 after being assessed.
That assessment included that ‘‘there is a high risk of him killing or seriously injuring other prisoners or persons whom he may come into contact with’’.
Of Reay’s 41 incident reports while in Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, 14 included assaulting staff.
When the time came for his release, NSW police took time preparing to extradite him over the border to face the Windale bashing charge.
It included an application to use the ‘‘Milat mobile’’, a modified armoured cash van used to carry the serial killer from Goulburn to Toronto Coroner’s Court in 2001 to give evidence at the inquest of three murdered Lake Macquarie girls.
They were knocked back, but they still used officers from the heavily armed operational safety group.
In what could have similarities to the moving of Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs, Reay was heavily restrained and heavily guarded for the entire journey from the border to Lismore police station.
He had already been determined as too much of a risk to be flown by commercial plane, so road transport was the only way.
Commissioner Woodham sent him straight to Goulburn, where he remained for a few months. He has been at Long Bay since January.
During sentencing proceedings in Newcastle District Court this week, Judge Paul Lakatos noted: ‘‘You have managed to get yourself into a lot of blues in prison.’’
Reay replied that since 2006: ‘‘I virtually started calming down’’.
When he is released in February 2013, time will tell.