June 17, 2009


Melbourne gang matriarch Judy Moran charged after relative’s murder (Sophie Tedmanson, 6/18/09, Times of London)

A vicious gangland struggle that has gripped Melbourne for more than a decade took a surprising twist this week when the matriarch of the city’s most powerful criminal clan was charged in connection with the murder of her brother-in-law. [...]

The twist in the gangland wars tale has surprised even Melbourne police officers. “Fact is almost stranger than fiction with what we’ve seen,” said the Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland. “If you were a scriptwriter and sat down and wrote this stuff you’d probably say: ‘Look, no, it’s all a bit far-fetched; no one will believe it’.”

The story of the turf wars in Melbourne has been the subject of many books, with the rivalry between two crime families immortalised in Australia by the award-winning television series Underbelly — which had to overcome various legal hurdles before it could be screened in the Victoria area.

The series is based on the book Leadbelly: Inside Australia’s Underworld, by The Age journalists John Silvester and Andrew Rule. A third series of the show is being written — and the latest developments should give the screenwriters plenty of fresh material.

There are fears that this week’s events — while seemingly contained within one family — could lead to a renewal of hostilities.

Other leading players in the gang wars have included Carl Williams, who is serving a life sentence for three murders; the Carlton Crew, an Italian-Australian criminal organisation; and the underworld figure Mick Gatto, a former heavyweight boxer.

If you've been watching the series, this doesn't even seem unusual.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 17, 2009 6:53 PM
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