Former Mercury chief photographer Kirk Gilmour pessimistically rolled his eyes when he was asked to go to Wollongong Courthouse to snap Matthew De Gruchy.
"Fat chance of getting a photo, I thought. De Gruchy was in custody, bail refused. It was the first day of De Gruchy's committal hearing, police and corrective services security was everywhere," Gilmour recalls.
"I was 99 per cent sure I was never going to see him, let alone get a photo of him. No way did I remotely consider the one per cent chance I would get a photo.
"I looked up the courthouse driveway to see a corrective service officer waving at me, beckoning me to walk up to him.
"He told me to follow him into the garage. He informed me I stood a better chance of getting a photo of De Gruchy in here.
"The lighting was very low and the gaps in the security fencing panels and deadlocked doors to contain the prisoners - you couldn't pass a 10 cent coin through.
"I pressed my camera against the fencing panel trying to get an angle to see anything.
"I could hear doors slamming shut and then one opened near me. I pressed the camera's shutter button and hoped for the best.
"As the camera flash burst light through the panelling I could only see a blur of people and shadows swiftly walking past and then they were gone. So was I.
"Digital cameras didn't exist in 1996. It was the good old days of film cameras, there was no instant review like there is now to see if you had a photo or not.
"I raced back to the Mercury's photographic department, unloaded the film from the camera and loaded it into the processor.
"My anxiety levels were overloading as I waited for the film to process. I held the colour negative up to a light. Staring back even in the films negative form was a baby face of pure evil."