Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mark "Chopper" Read

Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read (17 November 1954 – 9 October 2013) was an Australian criminal and author. Read wrote a series of semi-autobiographical fictional crime novels and children's books. The 2000 film Chopper is based on his life.

Read was already an accomplished street fighter and the leader of the Surrey Road gang in his teens. He began his criminal career by robbing drug dealers, based in massage parlours in the Prahran area. He later graduated to kidnapping and torturing members of the criminal underworld, often using a blowtorch or bolt cutters to remove the toes of his victims as an incentive for them to produce enough money so that Read would leave them alive.

He was convicted of crimes including armed robbery, firearm offences, assault, arson, impersonating a police officer and kidnapping.
Read spent only 13 months outside prison between the ages of 20 and 38.
While in Pentridge Prison's H division in the late 1970s, Read launched a prison war. Read was ambushed and stabbed by members of his own gang in a sneak attack when they felt that his plan to cripple every other inmate in the entire division and win the gang war in one fell swoop was going too far. Read lost several feet of intestine in the attack. At the time Read was serving a 16 and a half-year sentence after attacking a judge.
Read claimed to be involved in the killing of 19 people and the attempted murder of 11 others. In an April 2013 interview with the New York Times, Read said "Look, honestly, I haven't killed that many people, probably about four or seven, depending on how you look at it."

He made the headlines again, on 15 December 2008 after he was attacked by a tomahawk-wielding man he said he had never met before. He said: "I ran to the panelbeaters and grabbed a pipe. I said, 'Come here now' and he jumped into a car and pissed off." In April 2012, Read was diagnosed with liver cancer. Read died of the illness on 9 October 2013, aged 58