While notorious characters often gain headlines, internet, TV and radio coverage the people behind them, their families and friends rarely do. Although popular media often portrays criminals as violent, mindless monsters for those that love these men (and women) they are still husbands, fathers, lovers and parents. It is rare to hear about the private life of these unlawful figures. Gloria McSweeney wife of jail-breaker and armed robber Harold McSweeney shared her life with such a man.

Remains of the jail gates after prisoners smashed through them with a truck

Remains of the jail gates after prisoners smashed through them with a truck

22 years ago, Harold John McSweeney – Harry to those who knew him – had become a household name. McSweeney was the mastermind of what became known as the “garbage truck escape”. Along with 3 others he commandeered a garbage truck doing a pick up inside Boggo Road Gaol and smashed it through the front gates of the prison. While on the run, Harry robbed banks and armoured vehicles. McSweeney was eventually recaptured, after surrendering to Channel 7 News presenter Frank Warrick at Crows Nest near Toowoomba. Gloria McSweeney, Harry’s wife was witness to it all.

Harold McSweeney (Left)

To say she is a colourful character is an understatement. Gloria McSweeney has been a champion kick boxer, prison councillor, drag racing driver (she drove a Toyota Celica called “Kickboxer”), hosted 4 Triple-Zed “Prisoner Show” and also a “crim” herself. The defacto wife of Harold McSweeney, Gloria had an intimate insight into the mind and machinations of a man that few ordinary people thankfully never had to know. To her however he was special.

Together since he was a ‘pimply-faced, smart-arse’ Gloria was the most important person in Harry’s life, as he was hers. Gloria carries on her body several tattoos showing her devotion to her husband. Thursday 28th August 2014 on True Crimes we speak with Gloria about her life and her life with Harry

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For this and more crime & ghost stories listen to Australia’s longest running true crime show “True Crimes” – presented by Jack Sim on 4BC Nights with Walter Williams. Thursday evenings 9.35pm on Radio 4BC.

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Our policy is to allow people who claim a connection with Boggo Road to tell their story, in their own words, without editing so long as it is not libelous or defamatory. Sometimes what they say is challenging and even incorrect as memories can be fallible, however it is still their story. Readers can decide whether they believe her account or not. Relatives do not believe Gloria’s story that she was in a relationship with Harold. Harry McSweeney was married before he went to jail and was still married at the time of his death.

Boggo Road Gaol
Boggo Road Gaol