Carl Williams (right), pictured with associate Andrew “Benji” Veniamin (left) and criminal barrister Nicola Gobbo.
Carl Williams (right), pictured with associate Andrew “Benji” Veniamin (left) and criminal barrister Nicola Gobbo.

Carl’s killers: Williams’ stable of underworld hitmen

Carl Williams didn't make it from low-level crook to underworld apex predator by being a nice bloke.

Men in his field sometimes need enemies and business rivals dealt with and Williams provided opportunities to many who traded in violence.

He had a vast stable of hitmen who were active for years, claiming at least 12 scalps between 2000 and 2004.

But by the time Williams was bludgeoned to death in Barwon Prison in 2010, most of his triggermen had found crime did not pay.

Some were dead, others were in jail and several had been forced by dire circumstances, and the Purana taskforce, to give evidence against their old boss.

The war was over and so was Williams' reign at the top.

These were Carl's killers.

 

 

 

ANDREW VENIAMIN

Andrew Veniamin (centre) with Carl Williams (left) and Tony Mokbel. Picture: Supplied
Andrew Veniamin (centre) with Carl Williams (left) and Tony Mokbel. Picture: Supplied

Veniamin was close mate, bodyguard and triggerman for Williams during the gangland war's hottest period.

As Williams carved out a lucrative drug business, Veniamin, whose loyalties lay elsewhere, was persuaded to sign on to provide muscle.

Some say the diminutive kickboxer from Sunshine killed as many as seven victims, although most of those were for other masters or for himself.

Regardless, Veniamin's murderous reputation was enough to enforce the will of Williams on many occasions.

And he would kill like an automaton when asked.

When Williams wanted wildman drug dealer and standover man Nik Radev dead, Veniamin got the job done.

In 2003, Radev followed Carl, his father George and others from Brighton to what they told him would be a meeting in the northern suburbs.

As Radev stopped at traffic lights in Coburg, Veniamin got out of another vehicle and marched up to his Merc and opened fire.

He was never one to let sentiment get in the way, either.

Two longstanding mates from the old Sunshine days - Dino Dibra and Paul Kallipolitis - died after a visit from Veniamin.

At least two men other men were lucky not to suffer the same fate.

Veniamin shot one by a roadside in Melbourne's west as he waited to travel to work and another in a park in a dispute over a woman.

His career as one of Melbourne's most prolific gunmen ended when former ally Mick Gatto shot him dead in the back of a Carlton restaurant.

Gatto was acquitted on the grounds of self-defence.

THE RUNNER

Williams entrusted The Runner with the elimination of his most hated foe, Jason Moran.

It was Moran and his brother Mark who had met Williams in a Gladstone Park reserve years earlier, a rendezvous which left the latter with a nasty gunshot wound to the guts and a ruined 29th birthday.

The Runner and Williams would later become close as they did some time in a maximum-security prison.

So, when he decided it was time for Jason Moran to go, Williams put the cold-blooded armed robber with a taste for violence on the case.

The Runner probably could have found other times and places to kill Moran but he didn't care.

He'd done his homework and knew his target's defences would be lowered at a Saturday morning footy clinic in Essendon on June 21, 2003.

As Moran and his mate Pasquale Barbaro sat in the front of a van at Cross Keys Reserve with several kids in the back, The Runner made his move.

He sneaked to the driver's side and blasted Moran and Barbaro with a shotgun and pistol, killing both, before sprinting from the scene.

It was an atrocity which preceded a raucous celebration by Williams at Crown Casino that night.

Four months later, The Runner was back on the tools for Williams, shooting dead hotdog salesman and drug dealer Michael Marshall in an ambush at South Yarra.

Again, it didn't seem to matter much that Marshall's young son was at the scene when he pounced.

The Runner - who had been under police surveillance - was arrested soon after and would later give up Williams.

Along with the opportunity of a lighter sentence, his boss had short-changed him on some of his handiwork.

The Runner's testimony was the beginning of the end for Williams.

RODNEY CHARLES COLLINS

 

Rodney Charles Collins (centre) hides under a hood as he is escorted by police to a remand centre.
Rodney Charles Collins (centre) hides under a hood as he is escorted by police to a remand centre.

 

Even Carl Williams was taken aback by the remorseless nature of Collins.

It was Williams who commissioned Collins to carry out the 2004 hit on police informer Terrence Hodson.

But the cold-hearted gunman triggerman also killed Hodson's wife Christine and Williams would later tell police he had some questions when they met to settle up on the $150,000 murder fee.

"I asked him about the sheila because I didn't think she needed to die and she wasn't a part of the contract,"

"That's not for you to worry about," Collins is said to have replied.

Collins was later charged but the prosecution was withdrawn.

The killer - also known by the surname Earle - had a well-earned reputation for extreme violence stretching back decades.

He would later be convicted over the murders of drug dealer Ray Abbey and his wife Dorothy at West Heidelberg in 1987.

Collins was also a suspect in the slayings of Brian Kane and Laurie Prendergast during a previous era of gangland carnage.

Collins died in prison in 2018 with an official tally of two murders but the possibility was that the true total ran into double figures.

THE VETERAN

Many thought The Veteran's homicidal heyday was long gone, before he resurfaced during Melbourne's era of gangland carnage.

The ruthless, rat-cunning operator had a criminal career dating back to the 1960s and was widely regarded as having given the murder game away by 2004.

But the word was out he was open for business and, when Williams wanted to get square for the murder of his mate and bodyguard Andrew Veniamin, he called on The Veteran to put things together.

Williams had already ordered the deaths of Moran's son Jason and stepson Mark, using other hit teams who were now indisposed.

The Veteran - who can't be named for legal reasons - handled the logistics and driving while two accomplices marched into the Brunswick Club and shot dead Lewis and badly wounded his mate Bert Wrout.

Not long after that, Lewis Caine was shot dead and his body found dumped in Brunswick.

The Veteran was later implicated in that one as well, although Williams was not thought to be in the mix.

ROCCO ARICO

 

Rocco Arico was mates with Carl Williams.
Rocco Arico was mates with Carl Williams.

 

Arico was a good mate of Williams and, ultimately, a person of interest in his 2010 murder.

But a decade earlier, they are suspected of having a common interest in disposing of violent standover man Richard Mladenich.

Williams had been on good terms with Mladenich for years but a dispute over money and some cross words at Crown Casino were his death knell.

The police theory is that Williams asked Arico and another close associate to deal with Mladenich.

The victim was in a room at the seedy Esquire Motel in 2000 when a gunman walked in unannounced, opened fire, stared for a few seconds at a witness and left without speaking.

From the early stages of the police inquiry, Arico was a suspect and was questioned as recently as last month by Purana taskforce investigators.

He was not charged.

Arico - regarded as a key figure in Victoria's Italian organised crime scene - is doing time for drug trafficking, weapons offences and extortion.

TERRY BLEWITT/STEVE ASLING

His drinking habits earned Terry Blewitt the nickname of "Bradman".

It was said that once seasoned boozer Blewitt was at the pub, it was just about impossible to get him out.

But, on the night of December 13, 2003, Blewitt was able to stay off the drink long enough to join Steve Asling on another Carl Williams murder mission, this one for a $150,000 fee.

The target was respected crime figure Graham Kinniburgh, a close mate of the Moran family so loathed by Williams.

A gunman pounced as Kinniburgh pulled up at his family home and, despite the victim firing a round in self-defence, he was shot dead.

Williams later told the media he knew nothing about it and that "The Munster" was a pretty good bloke.

No one seriously believed that and Williams would ultimately admit to police that he was behind the murder.

Armed robber Terry Blewitt was the suspected shooter and Steve Asling, another career criminal, his accomplice.

Blewitt disappeared the following year from Melton, his body not found for more than a decade when it was uncovered at a suburban waste facility.

Asling is in jail for the Kinniburgh killing but no one was ever charged over the death of Blewitt.

ANGE GOUSSIS

Ange Goussis
Ange Goussis

Made the mistake of teaming up with the treacherous Veteran and will pay the price for many years to come.

Goussis was one of the Lewis Moran hit-team who, commissioned by Williams, murdered Lewis Moran at the Brunswick Club.

Moran tried to run but never really had a chance of escaping the club alive.

Goussis and two other men - one of them The Veteran - were paid a $150,000 for the Moran hit.

The former Olympic boxing aspirant was also convicted of the murder of Lewis Caine.

He won't be released until 2039.

As with so many, he will have a lot of time to regret ever having met The Veteran.


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