Carl Williams once liked to brag he won Australia's bloodiest underworld war because he survived when most of his rivals couldn't. Even while inside Victoria's maximum-security prison he saw the last man standing from the Moran clan gunned down outside a coffee shop in a middle class suburb. By then the former supermarket shelf stacker turned Underworld Warlord was beyond gloating over Des Moran's execution. Too late Williams realised he had become a victim of the gangland feud he embraced and was slowly being crushed by his 35-year jail term. The man who called himself 'The Premier' no longer wanted a gangster life built on drug money. He had just one dream - an early release from prison. But not in a body bag. As a big fish Williams was kept in the most secure section of Barwon Prison and only allowed to associate with two trusted mates. The authorities were confident he couldn't be reached. They were wrong. He was bashed to death while reading the daily paper. In the underworld it those closest to you who are often the deadliest. This is Australia's Underbelly.
John Silvester has been a crime reporter in Melbourne since 1978. He has co-authored many crime books with Andrew Rule, including the Underbelly series, Leadbelly and Tough: 101 Australian Gangsters.