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Cop car near Finn's before shots: inquest

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September 14, 2017

A man has told the inquest into the murder of Shirley Finn he saw a police car and heard gunshots.

A gravely-ill man is due to testify at the long-awaited inquest into the gangland-style murder of Perth brothel madam Shirley Finn 42 years ago.

When plans for the inquest went awry on Monday due to the sudden unavailability of the coroner's counsel, high-profile lawyer Tom Percy said the witness Philip Robert Hooper was "hanging by a thread" and should be heard soon.

He is scheduled to take the stand at the WA Coroner's Court on Thursday to follow evidence given by Ms Finn's daughter Bridget Shewring.

The 55-year-old was aged 13 when her mother was found slumped in her car and wearing a ball gown at Royal Perth Golf Club, not far from the family home, on the morning of June 23, 1975.

She had been shot in the head four times at close range.

The court heard the teenager was interviewed by detectives at her school that morning, just moments after learning her mother was dead.

She was interviewed again at her father's Kenwick home two days later, when they took notes of comments she claims she never made.

According to the detectives, she told them her 33-year-old mother commented about a man being interested in buying her business, seemed happier than she'd been in a long time and said all her troubles would be over.

But Ms Shewring said that was not true.

"My mother never told me anything of her business," she said.

"I thought she had some sort of nightclub."

The court has already heard explosive evidence from former police officer James Boland, who claimed a man named Keith Lewis told him Sydney underworld figure Arthur "Neddy" Smith had murdered Ms Finn.

Mr Boland said Mr Lewis provided the information in exchange for police reducing charges against his boyfriend, Harold Stevens, for passing bad cheques.

Next week's witnesses include former deputy police commissioner Frank Zanetti.

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