The Gangland War

The ‘Gangland War' was a series of ‘tit-for-tat' murders within Melbourne's criminal underworld, which resulted in 27 deaths. It began in 1998 with the shooting of Alphonse Gangitano, and continued until 2006, with the killing of Mario Condello.

The height of the ‘war' was the shooting in the stomach of Carl Williams in 1999, allegedly by either Mark or Jason Moran. Carl Williams had been a minor player in the amphetamines trade, but he came to notice when he diluted his amphetamine mixture with ketamine, allowing him to undersell his rivals, the ‘Carlton Crew'.

Unfortunately for the Morans, Williams survived the shooting, and took the bloodshed straight back to them. Between 1998 and 2006, Williams' gang and the Carlton Crew struck out at each other as they fought for control of the amphetamines or ‘speed' market in Victoria.

Williams' appearance didn't give away his status as a ruthless drug boss, and he was often described as ‘baby-faced' and ‘likeable':

...far from the gangster of press repute, he was dressed as if for a day in Bay 13 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground: faded long denim shorts, a white sports top and lairy high-top runners. At thirty-three, he still had a fleshy, baby face and a ready smile...If you had put him in polyester pants and a baseball cap he could have passed for a trainee burger-flipper at McDonald's.

– Adam Shand, 2007

Shand, A 2007, Big shots, Viking, Melbourne, Vic.

Descriptive words can influence how we see a person. Phrases like, 'fleshy, baby face and a ready smile' give the impression that mobster Williams is nicer than his actions indicate.

This was certainly not the case for Mick Gatto, the reputed boss of the Carlton Crew:

There was no mistaking that this was the boss of the Carlton Crew. A huge, formidable figure, he walks like he owned the street, tugging ostentatiously at the lapels of his black suit and letting the fabric fall over his imposing frame....Mick would tell his clients that for a price everything was negotiable between gentlemen.

– Adam Shand, 2007

Shand, A 2007, Big shots, Viking, Melbourne, Vic.

At the time of writing, Mick Gatto was a free man, having recently been acquitted of killing Williams' close associate – Andrew ‘Benji' Veniamin – in self-defence. Carl Williams is serving consecutive life sentences for three murders, one of which the police will not name. He is expected to be in jail until he is 71 years old.

Newspaper article detailing the events leading to the murder of Mario Condello.
Newspaper article about the mob-related murder of former lawyer Mario Condello.
A newspaper listing of the Melbourne underworld murders from 2002 to 2004.
Police investigate at the scene of Mario Condello's murder in Brighton.