Mark Brandon Chopper Read

UPDATE 26/04/12

I have cancer: Mark ‘Chopper’ Read reveals

UPDATE: INFAMOUS underworld legend Mark Chopper Read has terminal cancer.

Read said he has been given a worst-case diagnosis of just weeks to live.

Another doctor said he could last  up to six years, but all agree he is at the end of the line.

Read has been in and out of hospital after haemorrhaging litres of blood.

The ex-crim turned author and artist has four cancerous tumours on his liver, which has to be drained to stop the toxins from reaching his brain and causing chemical delirium.

The one-time standover man, 58, has lost a lot of weight.

Read said he wasn’t afraid to die, but did not want to die in a pool of his own blood.

He also blamed Jimmy Loughnan – a now dead criminal associate – for ruining any chance he had of a liver transplant.

Read said Loughnan stabbed him nine times in a prison fight, which was depicted in the Chopper film.

He has too much scar tissue around his liver to enable the operation.

Read said the toxins in his body could not be processed by his liver.

“Looks like the big C has finally bitten. Let’s see how we go,” Read tweeted this afternoon.

“I actually feel OK. Some more surgery in a couple of weeks and hopefully I’ll be ready to rock’ n roll after that.”

He earlier tweeted: “Sorry I haven’t been tweeting of late. Have been spending a bit of time in hospital for my liver.”

Read worked as a standover man and was convicted of armed robbery, assault, kidnapping, arson, impersonating a police officer and attempted murder.

Read was sentenced to 13 years’ jail for attempting to kidnap a County Court judge at gunpoint and spent only 13 months out of jail between the ages of 20 and 38.

In the past, he has claimed to have killed 19 people.

Read has been stabbed more than a handful of times, shot once, run over by a car, had a claw hammer embedded in his head, and was made to dig his own grave, and cut off his ears in prison.

Mark Brandon ‘Chopper’ Read’s chilling letters from Risdon Prison

Russian roulette with Chopper 3:35
 MARK Brandon “Chopper” Read played a sick game of Russian roulette with Renee Brack, holding a loaded gun to her head.

He also wrote her chilling letters where he called himself a “no-eared monster” and asked where he should send the ransom note as he’d like to kidnap her one day.

Eighteen letters written by the infamous Australian underworld figure to Ms Brack will go under the hammer this weekend, along with other possessions of his such as an engraved lighter, at an auction house in Sydney.

The never-before-released letters were written by the notorious murderer to Ms Brack, a journalist, from his jail cell at Risdon Prison in Tasmania in 1992-3 where he was serving time for inflicting grievous bodily harm on bikie boss Sydney ‘Sid’ Michael Collins.

Despite protesting his innocence in these letters, Chopper eventually admitted to killing Collins in a chilling interview with 60 Minutes before his death from liver cancer in 2013.

“Believe it or not, I really didn’t shoot sid Collins,” he writes in his second letter to Ms Brack. “He was shot then driven to hospital thus saveing his life — Im spoced to have shot him then allowed him to be driven to hospital ‘the milk of human kindness’ does not run that thick through my vains — the fact that the nit wit was allowed to live should have crossed me off the suspect list’ [sic].”

‘2 weeks prior to his (Sydney ‘Sid’ Michael Collins) shooting he asked me to kill a membe

‘2 weeks prior to his (Sydney ‘Sid’ Michael Collins) shooting he asked me to kill a member of the outlaws moter cicel club,’ Chopper told Renee Brack in this letter. 

 At the end of that second letter he signs off with “I never get angry”.

But he seemed pretty angry by the third letter when the prosecution’s case against him was looking solid: “I mean BIG Deal — sid collins lost a kidney — ‘it’s not Saturday night in Balfast’. – if I shot the prick — Id say so. – ‘But I didn’t shoot him’ [sic].”

‘I had no idea the nit wit was going to use my Baretta or that the same gun was then goin

‘I had no idea the nit wit was going to use my Baretta or that the same gun was then going to be hidden in my own back yard’, writes Chopper of the shooting of bikie boss Sydney ‘Sid’ Michael Collins.

Ms Brack, who first met Chopper in 1992 when she filmed a news segment with him for the TV show Hard Copy, said “reading old letters from someone recently deceased feels a little strange, especially when they were written from prison by such a famous felon”.

She had a terrifying meeting with Chopper, which included firing shots out the window from the car Ms Brack was riding in, and Chopper playing Russian roulette with a gun pointed at her head.

He recounts the incident in the letters: “You forgot to mention in your little story about the Drive out to the Clarendon arms Hotel at Evendale when I hing the Gun out the window and let 6 shots Go — the boys in the car behind — us — the camera crew loved that — I often wonder why I didn’t kidnap you — I mean you wouldn’t have told on me would you Ha Ha.”

Chopper played a sick game of Russian roulette with Renee Brack. Picture: Hard Copy

Chopper played a sick game of Russian roulette with Renee Brack. 

Chopper signs off his letter to Renee Brack as ‘your mate’.

Chopper signs off his letter to Renee Brack as ‘your mate’. Source: NewsComAu


The letters continue in this manner over an 18-month period. As time goes on Chopper’s menace and malice escalates, giving an insight into the effect prison life can have on an inmate’s sanity.

“Chopper was given the term of ‘at the Governor’s Pleasure’,” explains Ms Brack. “It’s a tough sentence because there is no end date for a prisoner to work towards and it’s usually given to the criminally insane.”

In one of his last letters he called himself a “no-eared monster” and asks where he should send “the ransom note” as he’d “like to kidnap” Ms Brack one day.



‘Your a Good chick — even if I dont love you I would like to kidnap you,’ writes Chopper

‘Your a Good chick — even if I dont love you I would like to kidnap you,’ writes Chopper to Renee Brack. Source: NewsComAu


As well as his downward mental spiral, the letters showcase the trademark sense of humour that earned Chopper his huge fan base, which ranged from everyday people to celebrities and gangsters.

Upon his 1998 release from prison, a series of best-selling books, live shows and an award-winning movie about his life secured Chopper’s place in Australian pop culture history — whether people like it or not.


Eric Bana played Chopper in a movie of the same name.

Eric Bana played Chopper in a movie of the same name. Source: NewsComAu


“One thing I can say, Chopper was consistent — consistently alternating between moments of truth and chunks of lies,” Ms Brack said.

Now, 18 of Chopper’s handwritten letters, a polaroid self-portrait, a Christmas card with a disturbing poem and his brass cigarette lighter engraved ‘Mark Brandon Read 1000%’ are going under the hammer at Theodore Bruce Auctioneers in Sydney on Sunday, March 30.

“I guess they’ll go to a Chopper Read fan or collector of contemporary criminal memorabilia,” Ms Brack said. “But there is satisfaction in knowing some chosen charities will benefit from the proceeds.”



Chopper’s chilling letters from behind bars

Mark ‘Chopper’ Read back in his interview with Renee Brack for Hard Copy. Source: NewsComAu

Mark Brandon Chopper Read

A.K.A.: “Chopper”

Classification: Murderer?

Characteristics: Member of “The Overcoat Gang” – Self-described vigilante slayer of criminals

Number of victims: 0 – 19

Date of murders: 1979 – 1991

Date of birth: November 17, 1954

Victims profile: Men

Method of murder: Several

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Status: Served 20+ years for assault and other felony counts. Released from prison in July 1997

Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read (born 17 November 1954), is an Australian ex-convict, author, and celebrity.

Early life

Read was born to an ex-army father and a mother who was a devout Seventh-day Adventist. He was placed in a children’s home for the first five years of his life. Read grew up in the Melbourne suburbs of Collingwood, Thomastown, Fitzroy and Preston.

He was bullied at school, claiming that by the age of 15, he had been on the “losing end of several hundred fights”, and his father, usually on his mother’s recommendation, beat him often as a child. Read was made a Ward of the State by the age of 14 and was placed in several mental institutions as a teenager, where, he later claimed, he was subjected to electroshock therapy.

By his mid-teens, Read was already an accomplished street fighter and the leader of the Surrey Road gang. 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 before killing them (hence the slang term Toe cutter, used for Head hunters).

While in Pentridge prison‘s H division in the late 1970s, Read launched a prison war. His gang, dubbed “The Overcoat Gang” because they wore long coats all year round to conceal their weapons, were involved in several hundred acts of violence against a larger opposing gang during this period.

Around this time, Read had a fellow inmate cut both of his ears off in order to be able to leave H division temporarily. While in his early biographies Read claimed this was to avoid an ambush by other inmates, by being transferred to the mental health wing, his later works state that he did so to “win a bet”. However the nickname “Chopper” was given to him long before this, from a childhood cartoon character. Several other members of Read’s gang also cut off their own ears in a similar fashion after this incident.

Read was ambushed and stabbed by members of his own gang in a sneak attack, when they felt his plan to cripple every other inmate in the entire division and win the gang war in one fell swoop was going too far. Another theory is that James “Jimmy” Loughlan and “Blue” wished to benefit from a contract put on Chopper’s head by the Dockers. Read lost several feet of bowel and intestine in the attack. Ironically, Jimmy Loughnan was a longtime friend of Read’s. Read was, at the time, serving a 17-year sentence after attacking a judge in an effort to get Loughnan released from prison.

Read once claimed to have served two years for GBH starting in 1978 after attacking a local pimp and drug pusher who was attempting to force a 13-year-old schoolgirl into prostitution, claiming “It was worth it.”

Described variously as witty, charismatic, sadistic, and frightening, Read admits to being involved in the killing of 19 people and a further 11 attempts. Many of his associates in the underworld claim that Read is prone to making up numbers to increase his own notoriety and the sales of his books. Read himself has stated on numerous occasions that he would “never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn.”


Convicted of crimes including armed robbery, firearm offenses, assault and kidnapping, Read spent 13 months outside prison between the ages of 20 and 38, then went on to become a successful author of crime novels, selling in excess of 500,000 copies of his works. More recently, he has also found success as a recording artist.

In 2005, Read embarked on a tour of Australia performing a series of shows titled I’m Innocent with Mark “Jacko” Jackson and later toured Sydney in a stage show with a new co-star, former Detective Roger “The Dodger” Rogerson.

In 2001, Read was featured in an advertisement on behalf of the Pedestrian Council of Australia warning of the dangers of drunk driving. Read is seated at a kitchen table undoing his shirt and, while pointing to the numerous scars and injuries on his body, says:

“When I was in prison… I got slashed in the face… my ears cut off… eyebrows trimmed and a butcher’s knife here, an icepick here – NOT FUN AT ALL, etc… If you drink and drive and you’re unfortunate enough to hit somebody, you ought to pray to God that you don’t go to prison.”

In 2006, Read appeared in another commercial speaking out against domestic violence. On 13 March 2006, he released a rap album titled Interview with a Madman. He also appeared in the 2002 Australian comedy Trojan Warrior.

Read allowed use of his name to Australia’s heaviest alcoholic lager called “Chopper Heavy”. The beer is produced in Rutherglen, Victoria, a town associated with Australia’s most notorious outlaw, Ned Kelly.

Mark made the headlines again, on December 15, 2008, after being questioned by police about an alleged incident in Johnson St Collingwood. Read was attacked by a tomahawk-wielding man he claimed he had never met before. Read said, “I ran to the panel beaters and grabbed a steel pipe and he jumped into a car and nicked off.” Read suffered a minor injury to his arm after being hit with the blunt end of the tomahawk. Read was questioned by detectives at Richmond CIU before being released without charge. His alleged attacker has not been found.

Personal life

Read married Australian Taxation Office employee Mary-Ann Hodge in 1995 while imprisoned in Risdon Prison in Tasmania for the shooting of his friend Sidney Collins. The marriage produced one child, Charlie. They later divorced in 2001. On 19 January 2003, he married long-time friend Margaret Cassar. They have one son, Roy Brandon.

He contracted Hepatitis C during his time in prison through using a blood-stained shaver. Read revealed in March 2008 that he only has two to five years to live and requires a liver transplant, which he has refused, saying he does not want to take away a liver from a more deserving recipient.

Bestselling author

Read’s first book, Chopper: From the Inside, was collected from letters he sent while incarcerated in Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison and published in 1991. It contains tales and anecdotes of his criminal and prison exploits. Further biographical releases followed in a similar vein. However, with the advent of Chopper 5: Pulp Faction, Read began writing fictional tales based on his experiences of criminal life. Attempts were made to ban a children’s book written by Read titled Hooky the Cripple.

The 2000 film Chopper, starring Eric Bana as Read, was based on stories from Read’s books and independent research, leading to events portrayed on screen which somewhat contradicted Read’s version of events. For instance, Read claimed in early books to be vehemently against drugs, but the film portrays him as a casual drug user. In response, Read stated, “You have to have tried something to be able to say you hate it.”

Bana has agreed to play Read again in the sequel to Chopper. Read has refused to deny reports that he will have a cameo in the film.


Chopper: From the Inside (1991), ISBN 0-646-06543-2
Chopper 2: Hits and Memories (1992), ISBN 0-646-10987-1
Chopper 3: How to Shoot Friends & Influence People (1993), ISBN 0-646-15444-3
Chopper 4: For the Term of His Unnatural Life (1994), ISBN 0646210149
Chopper 5: Pulp Faction: Revenge of the Rabbit Kisser and Other Jailhouse Stories (1995), ISBN 0-646-25065-5
Chopper 6: No Tears for a Tough Guy (1996), ISBN 0-646-29637-X
Chopper 7: The Singing Defective (1997), ISBN 0-646-33923-0
Chopper 8: The Sicilian Defense (1998), ISBN 0-9586071-0-9
Chopper 9: The Final Cut (1999), ISBN 0-9586071-4-1
Chopper 101⁄2: The Popcorn Gangster (2001), ISBN 0-9579121-0-2
Hooky the Cripple: The Grim Tale of a Hunchback Who Triumphs (2002), ISBN 1-86403-165-4
The Adventures of Rumsley Rumsfelt (2003), ISBN 0-9579121-7-X
Chopper 11: Last Man Standing: From Ex-Con to Icon (2007)


Interview with a Madman (2006)

Public commentary and political views

Read has made public comment about a number of criminal cases, including the Ivan Milat backpacker murder and the Port Arthur massacre. He has frequently appeared on radio and television talk shows to promote his books and discuss his views on many issues. For a short period of time, he also had a column in Ralph magazine. He also was a regular columnist for the British magazine FHM. He currently has a column in Zoo Weekly.

His success in selling tales of his criminal past, and a number of recent attempts by other criminals to do likewise, has prompted widespread calls to amend the Federal Proceeds of Crime Bill (2001)—which confiscates the proceeds of drug deals and robberies—to also apply to indirect proceeds of crime, including book sales, TV appearances, and the like. Read has described his political beliefs as “to the right of Genghis Khan”. In his book Chopper 2, he lists American conservative G. Gordon Liddy and Bruce Ruxton, a critic of Australia’s immigration policies and leader of the Victorian RSL, as his political heroes.

Cultural references

A fictionalized version of Read was recently featured in several sketches on The Ronnie Johns Half Hour. Some of these sketches, such as “Harden The F*ck Up!”, have gained a kind of cult following among Read’s fans in Australia and across the world. Chopper was portrayed by Heath Franklin. Read has praised Franklin’s exaggerated impression, although he believes that Franklin is actually impersonating Eric Bana’s film portrayal of Chopper, rather than Read himself.

Acclaimed science fiction author William Gibson based a character (Keith Blackwell) in the final two books of his Bridge trilogy on Read. In the second book of the trilogy, Idoru, Gibson wrote in his acknowledgments:

“Anything I know about the toecutting business, I owe to the criminal memoirs of Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read (Chopper from the inside, Sly Ink, Australia, 1991). Mr. Read is a great deal scarier than Blackwell, and has even fewer ears.”


The 2000 film Chopper, starring Eric Bana as Read, was based on stories from Read’s books and independent research, leading to events portrayed on screen that somewhat contradicted Read’s version. For instance, Read claimed in early books to be vehemently against drugs, but the film portrays him as a casual drug user. In response, Read stated, “You have to have tried something to be able to say you hate it.”[citation needed]

Personal life

Read married Australian Taxation Office employee Mary-Ann Hodge in 1995 while imprisoned in Risdon Prison in Tasmania for the shooting of Sidney Collins. The couple had one child, Charlie, and divorced in 2001. On 19 January 2003, he married long-time friend Margaret Cassar. They have one son, Roy Brandon.

Read contracted Hepatitis C during his time in prison through allegedly using a blood-stained shaver.In March 2008 he revealed he only has two to five years to live and requires a liver transplant. However, he has refused to countenance this, stating, “A transplant would save me, but why would anybody give 53-year-old Chopper Read a liver over and above an 11-year-old girl with liver cancer? They wouldn’t – and I wouldn’t ask. I need a transplant, but I don’t want a transplant.”[7] He discussed this again in August 2009, when he was interviewed on ABC Local Radio and was quoted as saying “I haven’t had a drop of alcohol for 18 months, I have cirrhosis of the liver… there’s no cure for that”

Personal bodyguard

In 1998, Read met his bodyguard, Mark “Hammer” Dixon, after Read’s release from Risdon prison in Tasmania. Working as a driver and body guard for Read’s friend and colleague in crime, Charles “Mad Charlie” Hegyalji, Dixon eventually become Read’s most trusted ally. In the March 2003, Read was travelling the country doing paid appearances and ended up in a venue where security was run by Dixon. After finishing a show and exiting to the car park with his entourage, a disgruntled patron ran at Read brandishing a claw hammer. Dixon threw himself in the line of the hammers blow and then neutralized the attacker. As a result, Dixon became Read’s full-time bodyguard.

“Never Plead Guilty”

I am Mark Brandon Read, but most characters like to call me “Chopper.” There are a few obscure theories as to how I got my nickname, some reckon it is from an old cartoon, some say it is because I use to cut off the toes of others, while there are those that say it is because I had someone cut my ears off in jail. Maybe they are all right! Maybe they are all wrong! Who really cares.

For the record, it is because someone cut my ears off when I was in Melbourne’s elite bluestone college – more commonly known as Pentridge. For some insane reason, some upstanding members of that institution were out to hurt me. I summoned all my manners to politely suggest to the screws that I be transfered from H division. They declined and said there was no way I would be getting a transfer, so I made the simple decision that ears off = transfer. Believe me, it works.

Note – For those that think this webpage is going to cover all the little intricate details and stories of my love, that I have told in my book…keep dreaming. If you want to know details about my life and why I am what I am, I suggest that you buy my books. I haven’t busted my hump for hour upon hour just to shoot myself in the foot now and give it all to you for free. No, no, no, that would be quite ridiculous. Instead, this site will be my initial foray into the cyber world. Here I can sell products and provide you with details of what is happening in my immediate life. It is my international address, my very own “Chopper command centre” if you will.

Now the Chopper movie is another little fable which in principle resembles my life. It is a mixture of fact and fiction and at times a bit of friction, but one character from that movie does exist. His name is Nevile Bartos. Now I have known Neville for 25 years. Neville has saved my hide numerous times and without doubt if he hadn’t been around, I wouldn’t either. I know that Melbourne has its hard and tough men, as does every other place in the world, but this man is the “THE KING”. Now Neville is an Albanian and for those of you with a little knowledge about war, you would know that the Russians for many years, used Albanians as their assassins. These people are totally loyal and totally dangerous. Let’s just say Neville is no exception.

Neville “gold shoes” Bartos, what an old chestnut. I don’t want to step on any toes, but as the name suggests this man has done to attire, what Jack the Ripper did to late night shopping. I mean, any more gold on this man’s shoes, and it would be Australia’s second gold rush. I don’t know to whom he poses the greatest threat, to certain individuals or to the fashion industry. His fashion sense, shoes particularly, are…well…..interesting to say the least!

Below is a little photo of my home for many years. Coburg’s very own Bluestone College. Now this was a true institution, bigger than Eton, Oxford or Harvard. This was excruciatingly hard work.

I have lived a different life of sorts. I am 48 years old and have spent 23 years in jail. A movie based on my life, funnily enough called Chopper, was made in 2000. Since my last visit as a guest of her Royal Majesty in Tasmania’s “Big House” Risdon Prison, I have entered my “second life.” This has seen me unload my guns (including pistol, shotgun and a few childish goodies such as gellagnite and grenades), empty my holsters and make the obvious and common step of turning from Australia’s most notorious underworld hitman (….alleged…..) to an international media mogul of sorts.

As Australia’s most credentialed crime novelist I have released 10 best-selling crime books, 1 children’s book, made a television commercial for the Pedestrian Council of Australia which won a Gold Lion at the Cannes International Festival, have done numerous television and radio interviews and I have released my own music CD’s – including the latest rap extravaganza – Machete. Please allow me to add – I have also had my portrait entered into the Archibald Prize 4 years running – Who said crime doesn’t pay. I now have two things in common with Van Gogh. My books are also the most shoplifted in Australia – quite a unique little honour. Before I move on, I should not forget, I am just like most of you – I am also a devout beer connoisseur

Yes I am Mark Brandon Chopper Read – “Star of the Underworld,”- and after 23 years in jail and having been Australia’s most notorious underworld hitman, I am finally starting to get recognition. Do not get me wrong, I am just a regular bloke who, through his own means, has tried to do his bit for society.

All this. It’s a bit of a joke isn’t it? I’d be quite silly to take all this seriously wouldn’t I? I’d get quite carried away with myself. I often sit back and just have a little giggle at the whole thing, because someone like me just isn’t meant to make it like this. Society has a little hierarchical structure where only people from affluent backgrounds, or learnid individuals, succeed. I just thought to hell with all of this, I’m doing it my way.

All of this, and I have never worked an honest day’s labour in my life. Aaaahhh, the Great Australian Dream, who said it is hard to achieve.

But don’t get me wrong, for a one time toe-cutter, knee-capper and killer of 19 men (in my lighter moments), swapping my four ten for a HB2.0 is not without its price. It could happen someday, that someone asks me for my autograph and while I’m busying myself with the pen, they put a bullet in my head. Not really a desirable outcome for me is it!

Even though history has been quoted as saying “the pen is mightier than the sword,” I would still prefer the sword, plus a pistol, shotty and dynamite. I have often been heard likening myself to a leopard. They never changes their spots, they just get older. My spots haven’t changed, I have just gotten older and the spots have slightly faded. I’ll never change. I’ll always be the same person I always was. It’s just that I don’t do the things I used to do. After all, even you must admit, they are a little naughty.

Now the movie has me saying “…who said crime doesn’t pay….” I must take this opportunity to ask you fine citizens, you little students of life, if you have heard of the “Chopper Read amendments” to both the New South Wales and Victorian laws. These “do-as-we-like” governments have approved new legislation to stop criminals from earning royalties from books and movies about their offences. If you don’t mind officer, passing new laws at will, purely to stop profiteering from crime. What a truly dastardly deed. Is this aimed purely at me?……every criminal?…………who? I think to ensure thoroughness, this law should be made retrospective. Then all Henry Lawson’s (Australia’s great poet) books can be removed from every library and burned, because after all, he did a hell of a lot of his writing while he was in Darlinghurst Prison. I mean the philosophy behind some of these decisions is ridiculous and quite small minded.

This new legislation allows Crown prosecutor’s to take legal action to seize all profits from such a venture. It would then go into a fund for victims of crime. Victims of crime? Victims of “bloody” crime, bye gosh, what they don’t stop to realise is that I’ve only maimed and injured those that deserve it – hardened criminals. I’ve made half of these bloody crims rich, as they have successfully applied for moneys as a victim of crime. Now they intend to make the coffers even bigger. Another of life’s little irony’s. Bizarre in every sense. I guess that is what makes this country so great. Victims of crime?…Unreal. Why don’t they introduce something like the victims of fame. I would find this to be quite fantastic!

You may agree that my life has been quite extraordinary. I don’t condone what I have done, but it is in the past and I can’t do anything to change it now. However, I can use my experience to inform every single person who views this site, whether they are holier than thou or have done some pretty nasty things in their life, you have the opportunity to change direction. This doesn’t mean you change who you are, but you can redirect your life and make something of it. I am speaking from experience. It takes a big man to stand up for himself in any circumstance, but it takes even a bigger man to look at himself in the mirror and say I don’t like what I am doing with my life and I’m gonna change it, then follow it through.

Please enjoy my site and provide some feedback on what you would like to see. There is also a products page where you can get some gear you won’t find anywhere else in the world. So surf away and cough up some cold hard Stan Cash. For now…….Via Con Dios, Amigos.

“My History”

My early days were spent in the northern Melbourne suburbs of Thomastown, Preston and Collingwood. I was never the toughest kid at school, often being bullied and bashed, but this only strengthened my resolve. From being stood over, to becoming the standover man, my my, what a change. Evolution I suppose.

As a little tacker I was given repeated shock and drug therapies to correct a learning difficulty. Did this tame a monster or create a monster? Neither because I am not a monster. Killed 19, hurt many, caused much property damage – I have never hurt any innocent characters. This should be remembered.

My apprenticeship in crime began in the 1970s. This had me robbing massage parlours and taking on contracts to maim and kill rivals. Once I had obtained a doctorate as a “standover man”, robbing drug dealers and other criminals, who funnily enough couldn’t report me to the police, became childs play. I once told a friend “why rob a straight guy of $20 when you can rob a drug dealer of $10,000 and he can’t go running to the police?” After all both involved some work on my behalf, but the man in the street was less likely to give up his $20 as he had to work hard for it. For the drug-dealers it came easy, so why would they put up a fight. Although some of my victims chose to chew razor blades (at their own request of course), before they would hand over cash? And I am the psychopath!

I’ve had my fair share of incidents and on several occassions I have nearly met our maker. I’ve been stabbed, shot, run over, and was once digging my own grave before I used the shovel as a meat cleaver. Let’s just say that somone is in that grave and their skeleton is rotting under many autumns of falling leaves somewhere on a Victorian mountain – it ain’t me.

People often ask me is the scene from the Chopper movie, where I get stabbed 7 times, true. Of course it is, anybody knows that, or is that anybody that has been stabbed 7 times, Ha Ha. Yes, I did get stabbed seven times and that stabbing scene was very true because you don’t feel the wound right away. You could probably liken it to winning Tattslotto – you’ve got the winning ticket right there in front of you, but although it has happened you wouldn’t believe it. Meanwhile, someone like me might come in and steal the ticket. This is not true, I would not condone such a hainus crime. Anyway, in relation to my stabbing, I tried my utmost to be polite and complimented the offender for his sneaky approach.

Chopper, the movie, is 100% lies and 100% truth rolled together to make 100% of nothing. Despite the movie apparently portraying my life and being a box office hit – the first ever adults only movie to go number 1 at the box office – I didn’t get anything out of the movie, not even a ticket to its premiere or a ticket to the AFI (Australian Film Industry) awards. I signed all my money from the movie, over to the Royal Childrens Hospital in Melbourne – instead of taking lives I am now saving them, yet even it has not formally acknowledged my donation. Also it greatly annoyed me that I was portrayed as a woman basher and that my new wife, Margaret, did not even rate a mention in the movie. However, the movie has resulted in two of my books being published in Britain and I have been gratiously informed that U2’s Bono played the film to bring on his wife’s labour – just fantastic isn’t it. But…..does this make me a co-parent?

As I said, the movie turned me into a world wide figure, as confirmed by an article written by Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times in July 2001:

Is everyone in Australia a few degrees off from true north? You can search in vain through the national cinema for characters who are ordinary or even boring; everyone is more colorful than life. If England is a nation of eccentrics, Australia leaves it at the starting line. Chopper Read is the latest in a distinguished line that includes Ned Kelly, Mad Max, and Russell Crowe’s Hando in “Romper Stomper.” The fact that Chopper is real only underlines the point.

A few degrees off north, well Australia is bloody miles of north actually, if truth be quoted. I think he is simply upset about Australia II’s victory in the 1983 America’s Cup. America’s Cup, America’s Cup, the Australians said excuse us for just a minute, that would look very nice on our trophy cabinet…Yes, yes it would, that you very much…..we think we will take that.

I have been convicted of armed robberies, a shooting, assault and kidnapping a judge. Between the ages of 20 and 38, I had a measily 13 months on the outside. This was my equivalent to the annual leave that most people get through work.

As reported, I do have a phenomenal ability to withstand pain, often to my detriment. This ability, combined with my desire to get a transfer from Pentridge, convinced me to get a fellow inmate to slice off my ears with a razorblade – just insane stuff really. Little did I know that this would later result in another of life’s little ironies. A few years ago I was recruited by some character from Black Flys sunglasses to help promote their products here in Australia. Great, how was I meant to keep the bloody things on?

Pentridge always had its lighter moments and there are numerous stories. In prison I made others chew razor blades while I ate their food and it has been alleged that I use to blowtorch feet so that they smelled like a cross between burnt hair and roast pork. What a fancyful story, by the way have you seen the cover of my book Chopper 10 1/2, The Popcorn Gangster.

In five years at Pentridge, I was alleged , to have attacked 63 men and tried to kill 11. Who invents these numbers, 6311 is my ATM P.I.N number. Their is another story that I would like to set straight. When I had my stomach slit by convicted murderer, Greg “Bluey” Brazel during a prison brawl in 1979. The next day I burst my stiches doing push ups to get fit enough for a revenge attack on Brazel. To this day I cannot believe that I did all those push-ups, the stomach didn’t hurt, but the arms ached like hell.

With nothing much to do in Pentridge, aside from hurt someone here or there, it was the place where I learned to read and write. Little did I know, that spending some times learning these artful crafts, would inevitably keep me alive in the long run.

Tip – A little trick I have learned and am willing to pass on to you, comes from when I was freed from jail in 1986. Being a bit short of cash and with jobs hard to come by, I began demanding money from fellow criminals. And the unusual part is I here you asking? ….I use to strap a stick of gelignite to my chest and threaten to blow us both up if they didn’t pay up. I can’t believe I ever had the audicity. I also can’t believe that it always worked.

In terms of a crime that brought me to the public attention, the 1987 shooting of the drug dealer, Siam “Sammy the Turk” Ozerkam, outside Bojangles Nightclub in St Kilda, Melbourne, is an out and out winner. It was as big a hit as the movie about me, which would come out 13 years later. As I’ve said in my books, it was quite a simple series of events “….I’ve pulled the shotty out and gone bang and it’s bye, bye Turk.” It was far from a case of cold-blooded murder, instead it was an act of instinctive self-defence.

It was when I was in jail in 1990, that I made my first steps towards being an author. It all began when I wrote a note to journalist Mr John Silvester after he wrote a derogatory article about me in Melbourne’s “The Age” newspaper. In short my note wished him a merry Christmas and it expressed my hope that his house would burn down. That reminds me of a little story about Nick “The Greek” Apostolidis, but you’ll have to read my books for that one – but I digress. I wrote around 300 letters in eight months to Mr Silvester, then he and his colleague Andrew Rule edited these letters to create my first book. They hoped it would sell 5000 copies, possible 10,000 and they told me that if things went well, I might end up with a used car. A used car…I’m sure I could park that in the cell with me. Regardless of their “big” plans, my first book has run to more than 120,000 copies, but these cheeky scallywags have yet to give me that used car. Maybe its time to come good on my promise to Mr Silvester…John, your thoughts?

In 1992, the former president of the Victorian Outlaws Sid Collins, was shot in the stomach with a 9mm bullet at point-blank range. To my shock he had the audacity to claim that I had pulled the trigger. Please why would I do such a thing, an unspeakable act. As my lawyer so vehmently claimed, Sid obviously framed me because the real gunman was a fellow motorcycle gang member. Anyway as a result I was sent to jail again. The story of my life. Why is it that for someone with such a reputation both in and out of the underworld, I was so unsuccessful at staying out of jail. Unfortunately, Sid has now been murdered. Of course I was questioned by some big time New South Wales policeman. This is quite bizarre, as I clearly was not in the area at the time of the alleged crime, but these policeman came down at the same time as Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival. Their questions where quite basic, elementary really….so why question me? Anyway I wonder if they know who won Race 5 on Cup Day. A quite opportune time for them, possibly?

In 1995 after a year-long engagement, I married Mary-Ann Hodge whilst in Risdon. Mary-Ann is an attractive and educated woman employed with the Australian Taxation Office. She read one of my books and shortly after came to visit me in Risdon. At that stage I was being held in maximum security indefinitely after I was deemed to be a dangerous criminal. In 1998 my dangerous criminal tag was overturned and Mary-Anne and I moved to a farmhouse at Richmond, Tasmania.

We have a child together, a boy, who we called Charlie, named after my long time and now deceased mate ‘Mad’ Charlie Hegyalji. Our marriage (Mary-Ann and I) went great guns for a while, but it broke up in 2001. Life in Tasmania was just too slow. I couldn’t handle watching chickens and sheep running around day after day. Farming life wasn’t for me, so I left with just the clothes on my back and enough money to get out of Tasmania. I returned to Melbourne and have since married Margaret Casser on 19 January 2003. I have known Margaret for 30 years. As we are still on talking terms, I feel that 30 years should be enough to guarantee a happy future. Anybody else out there that has married someone after they have known them for 30 odd years, please don’t tell me now that it doesn’t work.

As noted on my homepage, this site is far from an exhaustive fable of my life, instead you’ll have to read the books for this. This site is instead a more interactive environment where I can provide you real time information, including interviews, photos and products. If you think that something should be added, or that I should link to your site drop me a line and I may consider it. For now……….Via Con Dios, Amigos.

Chopper – Who Loves Ya, Baby?

The Age August 13, 2007

Cinema has long conditioned us to have a soft spot for criminals.

From The Defiant Ones to The Godfather to Dog Day Afternoon to Scarface to GoodFellas to the numerous film versions of Ned Kelly, the common theme running through them all is that crime breeds charisma. Yes, these uneducated thugs may be impulsive and violent and happy to shoot somebody over a misheard drink order, but they also have an undeniable charm.

Such is the case with Mark Brandon Read – aka Chopper – the famous ex-crim who has become a folkloric figure both in the Underworld and in that other world where the rest of us reside.

The Fine Art of Self-Promotion

Read has long known the appeal flamboyant crims can have for straight-living citizens – and he has proved himself a master at cultivating it.

He has produced a series of best-selling, well-written crime books, Read is an artist of considerable repute and he has delighted in spicing up TV news features about Melbourne’s crime scene with witty observations that often highlight how movie gangsters provide the template for today’s modern criminal. Read laughs at how foolish they are for thinking they are in a movie. We agree, and laugh with him. His appeal doubles.

And Read, of course, is one-up on most Australian gangsters by having had a major film made about him. Chopper, starring actor Eric Bana as Read, came out in 2000 and has enjoyed great success, both here and overseas.

Although Read was not allowed to make any money from the film, he was certainly happy to help out. He gave Bana extensive notes and pointers about what his life was like in and out of prison. Also, Read provided a compelling audio commentary for the DVD release of the film. There might not have been a cent in it for him, but Read seemed happy to participate in a film that would enhance, if not glorify, his legend.

He also performs live shows with other figures of note, such as football great Mark “Jacko” Jackson and notorious NSW cop Roger Rogerson. In these shows Read relates tales from his life for the amusement of a paying audience.

Crime Pays – Or Does It?

But Read has fallen on hard times. A recent report on Channel Nine’s Sunday program (airdate 15 July) detailed his financial woes, his uncharacteristically dour mindset and his brooding resentment for those who have made a dollar from his name.

Much of this ire is directed at comedian Heath Franklin, whose over-the-top Chopper impersonation has become the highlight of the popular skit comedy show The Ronnie Johns Half Hour. If somebody is getting big laughs from spoofing Chopper, Read contends, he deserves royalties.

In fairness to Franklin – and to be completely accurate – his is not an impersonation of Chopper Read as much as it is an impersonation of Eric Bana as Chopper Read. The bulk of the gags, mannerisms and references in Franklin’s act are clearly derived from the heightened, dramatised film version of Read.

Indeed, the film has become such a pop-cultural reference point it was adapted into a hilarious animated short film by Bernard Derriman, which featured at the short film festival Tropfest in 2001, where it won first prize in the comedy category. Read has yet to register his opinion of it.

The Real Read

Beneath his self-sculpted celebrity and media-friendly persona Read, of course, has a history of violence. He has killed many times and has often bragged about his deeds, most infamously on TV in 1998 when he appeared on the McFeast Live program. (During his lengthy interview with host Libbi Gorr, it became clear that Read was completely intoxicated. The show never recovered from the controversy that followed.)

Key to Read’s appeal, though, is his contention that he has never inflicted violence on anybody who didn’t deserve it. The innocent have never been in his sights. This is a point stressed both in the film and by Read himself on the DVD commentary track.

He describes one incident where he was about to shoot somebody, but saw there was a child sleeping in the same room. Concerned about the deafening effects the blast from the gun could have on the child’s hearing, Read promptly escorted his victim into another room and shot him there.

Chopper versus Mark Brandon Read

Read’s appearance on the Sunday report presents a poser. While he seems genuinely down on his luck, Read’s media savvy suggests that his hapless aura is a performance designed to elicit public sympathy. For why else would he make his private financial woes public?

The report certainly points out the difference in Read’s demeanour – from the cocksure charismatic joker to the hard-done-by family man – and the reporter challenges him over his confessed inability to manage money. “I should not have been allowed anywhere near a credit card,” Read says.

Later, while bemoaning the discrepancy between the media image of “Chopper” and the more down-to-Earth “Mark Brandon Read” – as he now prefers to be called – he says: “Why people have this image in their minds is beyond me.” A most curious statement, given his authorship of that image.

To watch the 22-minute Sunday report on Read go here. For a series of Chopper skits from The Ronnie Johns Half Hour go here. (Note: These items contain very coarse language.) For a review of the Chopper DVD go here. For a directory of stories about Read’s art works, go here. To see a promo for the Chopper animated short go here.

Does Mark Brandon Read have a case for sympathy? Is he being exploited, as he claims? Does he deserve royalties, or should he have thought of trade-marking his name a long time ago? Did the film glorify him? What do you think about Read and the “Chopper industry”?


47 thoughts on “Mark Brandon Chopper Read

  1. Pingback: High Profile Criminals Pages « Aussie Criminals and Crooks

  2. He says the portrayal of him as a woman abuser in the movie was false and that he has respect for women. I don’t know whether or not that’s true but it sure is reassuring to hear it. Also, he admits to killing outlaws only. I know that’s still not right but still it’s better than hurting or killing the innocent.

    He’s an old man now, something his victims will never enjoy but is cancer enjoyable? I’ve watched a close relative deal with the pain and eventually die of cancer and I’d have to say I wouldn’t wish it on MBR or my worst enemy. A person wouldn’t be human to simply shrug this off and in the video he is clearly petrified of the situation.

    Some of us have sat back and enjoyed a laugh while watching his movies, reading his books and watching his interviews. The guy does have entertainment value. Many have enjoyed the spoils of sharing his stories. What has MBR had in return? No childhood worth speaking of and a life mostly served behind bars. If you think he is a monster have a really good think about the monster his mother was and the number of monsters still out there on the loose screwing up children who are destined to wind up in gaol also.

    I feel sad that you have cancer MBR but I feel sadder that your childhood was stolen in the name of a sad Seventh Day Adventist and consequently your adulthood also deeply affected. For sure you will muster up the strength to deal with the big C but I hope that if there is such a thing as reincarnation you get to enjoy a loving childhood to set you up for the good things in life that you are yet to experience it seems.


    • Absolutely appalled by your comments. Yet you can be forgiven as you do not know MBR and you have only gone on what you have read for over the years that journo’s write. They don’t know MBR or have even tried to accept he has moved on and away from crime 15 years ago…and changed his life around. We as a family have moved on …its a about time society moves on …He did the crime and time …not one of MBR’S critics can say they helped him to rehabilitate… But I can say I helped a man that had a bad start in life but had a good finish.

      Mrs. Margaret Read


      • As a Maltese person, MBR characterised you as being quite the tough person yourself. There are enough fanciful tales doing the rounds in the media, some that may contain some truth, others, way off the target. Truth being there is only one person who knew the real MBR. That is you darl. Your real toughness translates into the ability you had to understand one of societies most misjudged, and most misunderstood human beings since Ned Kelly. All the praise and respect to you for standing loyal to the real MBR. I wish you and all your family the best in this most difficult time. Long live uncle chop


  3. I can think of nothing more disgusting or deservadly being called a dog than a low life criminal touring citys with known corrupt ex police to make money. Roger Rogerson is nothing more than a dishonest cop who used his position to advance himself in life. This to the detrement of his fellow officers, criminals and ordinarly citizans. He was the “father” of all dogs, My son in law was in Longbay prison with another dogged criminal who also wrote a book. He forgot to say he was also a police informant and he destroyed my son in laws life for a long time after he and many other young men were raped. Oh yes, and he also toured with the infamous Mr Rogerson. After he raped young men in prison, he told them his motto – if you cant sink the red go for the brown. Parkinsons, cancer – they are all destined for misery or they will see it in their families. God help them all. Cause I wouldn t.


    • Well, that’s a highly questionable point of view you have there Leanna. People who live in glass houses…. Have you never, ever done anything wrong in your life? Maybe not serious enough to incur goal time, however still, have you never, ever done the wrong thing? Everybody deserves a second chance. And it seems like your not particularly fond of Mark. He struggled to overcome adversity. He did the crime, and subsequent time. He also instilled in his later years, the courage for younger criminals to reform the nature of their nafarious ways. Did he die in goal? No. Did he make the best of his particularly poor start in life by educating younger criminals that crime does not pay? Yes.
      I’m not advocating crime, or his criminal past. But what I would ask you, given the same start in life as he did, would you do any better? Could you aim that perception at yourself? I seriously doubt you could, or would. Keep your deeply flawed perceptions to yourself.


  4. I wrote to Chopper years ago whilst he was in prison. He even sent me a Christmas card which I still have and show friends when they call around. I would trust Chopper with my life more than any other of the scum around. I have all his books, and yes, they are a good read. As for idiots saying that he deserves what he gets, you never wish cancer on anybody, no matter who they are. Long live Chopper.




    • If you would trust him with your life then your life must not be worth much to you. It was nice of him to send you a card but you shouldn’t put him on a pedestal because he is a public figure. Value yourself more than that, he based his life on criminal behaviour and he is only known because of this. Idolise someone who deserves it, someone who has worked hard to create a career and not hurt/killed people in the process.


      • Do you live in a bubble? A card and some contact does not constitute idol worship or being placed on a pedestal. Lee is simply making comment. You fail to realise this because you are embroiled in the emotional nature of this situation. You failed to do your homework here…


  5. I admire Mark he’s had to survive in a tough world and didn’t harm the innocent he fought back against those that deserved their right wack.


  6. He’s also street wise and a hell of a lot smarter than all those dumb crims that fell by the wayside such as Carl Williams that’s why chopper is out and the rest are inside or 6 ft under. So suck that up sceptics.


  7. Lot of respect for Chopper.
    Even if his book are mainly fiction,he never did harm innocent person and he truly is a legend.
    Whole Australia and half of the world knows who Chopper Read is and they will remember long after he dies.
    For the Chopper haters around,who will remember you?
    Leave Chopper alone.
    He is a tough guy with hard life behind him and deserves to be respected,if even only for the fact that he survived so long between sharks.

    Take care Chopper,hopefully we’ll see you around for couple more years.


    • to those of you who wish harm on chopper think about something else, how many victims did he give closure to? How many more victims would be hurt if it were not for his actions? I am not condoning violence because I have seen firsthand the results while I was in prison, but when the authorities fail to act it takes a hard man to perform a hard task.


  8. If only when you were the H.DIVISION SCULLERY BILLET MARK, and ADRIAN EARNEST EDWARDS/ BAYLEY, was made a guest of the queen in H.DIVISION and JIKA JIKA ,when he first came into the college of knowledge, back in 1988, all those years ago, when prison was real stir, and the screws would have threw him in with you in the slot, with all the killers , physco,s and painters and dockers, and armed robbers, to have a chat, hand him his meals and give him Pentridge H, Hotel room service, with tower views and lots of caring cell mates in friendly exercise and labour yards and shower blocks, for him to mix with, to talk to, and to prey on the cross and give him some loving old school rehabilitation, with the giant hole he has in his muscle toned body building manners. and his mean tattoos. And when you and the boys had finished showing him the ropes, and he had received his treatments up by the H screws black panadol, he could then have shared a cell with a mentor, and do his rape course and buddy rehabilitation with new cell mates GARY DAVID WEBB, or perhaps he could have done his body building weight training as a new rapist bitch to RUSSELL MAD DOG COX, and ROY RED RAT POLLET & ALEX TSMARKAS. AND GREG BLUEY BRAZEL & CRAIG MINOGUE,& JUILIAN KNIGHT could have been his jail defence lawyers, and showed him how to swing bar bell weights in the H.DIVISION laundry, while ALEX TSMARKAS, could of taught him some lit match stick tricks and debating methods, and weight training techniques with CRAIG MINOGUE . HA HA.
    Maybe one day , BAYLEY will come across someone as tough as you were CHOPPPER, on the inside. And BAYLEY get his right whack, and his victims revenge served on him as a dish best served cold. HA HA.
    CHOPPER MARK BRANDON READ, it was a jungle in there, and you survived against all odds ,by being hard and crazy, and out lived a lot of killer sharks in locked up in the sea of human shit in Pentridge, Gaol. ALSO remember mark at great cost to your health, from surviving the violence of your would. You are now a free man, while your enemies KEITHY GEORGE FAURE is going to serve the rest of his life in lock up, and your little mate MARK MORAN is DEAD!
    Don’t let the cancer beat you CHOPPER. As long as the H.DIVISION building survives in Pentridge Village, it will be your legacy, of how the Victorian Prisons once let you serve out the justice on the inside……………………………………………………………………………………………………….


  9. i was with Lewis Moran for 10/15 years as his driver and stash man and I can guarantee to all you people Lewis was terrified of Chopper, just like Alphonse. He used to say to me if you see him at the pub door, run like hell. He never worried me, I never met him and most people said he was OK.


  10. may you rest in peace now mark and find your place at them perly gates you are a highly respected man who all ways had a reason for all you did….R.I.P mr read


  11. Mark Brandon ”Chopper” Read, been on your highway to hell as the blackeyed bruiser , now up and through St Peters pearly gates in heaven with your dear old dad Keith Read.
    and outlaw heaven with Ned Kelly and Bon Scott. Gonna make a Jailbreak. Cheers big ears, Chop Chop, The hood in the hood, a wasted life in Hell H.Division Labour yards, and Jika Jika, but a new start up with GOD. signing autographs. Ha Ha.


    • Mr Dennis I found it interesting to read in the above story that Chopper contracted Hep-C from a dirty razor, as someone from the inside you should be able to comment on this fallacy because you should know Chopper got Hep-C from a dirty pick after jamming smack up his arm.


  12. Back in the old days of Pentridge, B.Division, A.Division, D.Division and H.Division,etc, needles, fits, and syringes and razor blades were hard to get and were hidden around the jail from the screws and were shared around all the drugy prisoners, smacking up as you say. And were used by the crims over and over again. Because no one could give shit about, getting hep C, AIDS or HIV disease etc back then. They just got there fix, the best way they could, and from where ever they could, without the screws catching them. And as far as the razor blade and sharing goes, the same applied, no one could give a bloody shit. How often a razor blade had been used or what for, or where it had come from.
    All that mattered was that the razor blade was the easiest form of jail weapon to conceal up the crims arsehole, or mouth or tied to a string and swallowed to be pulled back up, when needed, and to hide from the screws doing a ramp or cell search. And it was the best weapon for improvising , slashing up, self mutilations, which was Choppers and Gary” Don’t Tell me What to Do” – David -Webb, the H.Divison Willy Slasher and Feet Nailer and poison drinkers, favorite pastimes in H.Division and Jika Jika. And the razor blade, as it was small was good for slashing a enemy crim with by just holding it between the thumb and fingers and slashing or by another measure of inserting it in a bar of soap or melting a plastic toothbrush handle around a razor blade with a cigarette lighter, and making a very deadly shiv out of it. A Prison Officer died of AIDS from being stabbed with a infected blood filled syringe and needle by a crazy crim in a Maximum security prison in N.S.W. As for Chopper jamming smack up his arm, well I guess he is not alone in jail doing that hey. Most of the crims in jail have Hep C from smacking up in jail, and from sharing fits and needles. The same can be said about slashing up in jail with contaminated used razor blades.
    Most of Choppers medical problems, came about from his Overcoat Gang days in Pentridge when he was stabbed by enemy Greg Bluey Brazel and others and his mate Jimmy Loughnan stabbing him in H.Division. when he lost most of his guts. And he more than likely got blood contamination from the razor blade used by his mate Kevin Taylor to slice his ears off in the Slot Labour yard, it was full of unknown diseases back then in H.Division. As I said, no one could give a shit about getting some disease, they were more worried about surviving a jail bashing from the screws or other enemy crims in a knife fight to the death.
    By the way Mr Bushrat were you in H.Division Pentridge Prison when Chopper was there, as you say he jammed smack up his arm. Or did you know him in Geelong or Bendigo Prisons, when he was a real wild insane crim. How well did you know Chopper, if you reckon he was a smack up drugy. Any way liver Cancer is what is supposed to have really took him down, not Drugs. Chopper hated drugys and stood over them for cash. That why Neville Nick the Greek Apostiledis Bartos, hated Chopper so much. After all he did burn his house down, because he would not pay up his drug money. Or do you know otherwise now his dead something that Chop Chops done. Then talk about it here if you knew Chopper,well , Mr Bushrat. Never Let the Truth Get In The Way Of A Good Story…. Ha Ha.


    • Knew Chopper from Geelong were he used to have a taste of smack though I don’t think he ever had a habit and that’s where I figure he got his Hep-C from, could have been a blade but I’d bet on a dirty pick.


  13. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story ……..

    I believe this will apply to crims wanting to big note themselves claiming to have been ‘ mates ‘ of Chopper’s , I think in a few short years we’ll find H Division must have been the size of the MCG to fit them all in … the odd part is these claims will come after his death , my belief is a lot of people were extremely frightened of him , I have never feared him as my world is a distant one from his , I never met the man but know a couple of blokes who knew him well including a former screw who told me ” when Chopper played up I was the one they sent in to sort him out ” …. as stated ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’


  14. Chopper has said, he survived the Pentridge H.Divison Bash house, because he was certified criminally insane. Though Chopper, did do some very tough, violent time in The Slot, The truth is the Big solid built screws in Choppers time in H, from the mid seventies, were no-where near as strict and violent as the screws in H.Division from 1958 until 1974. When just like Grafton Prison in N.S.W. was known for its systematic brutality of torturing and bashing and even murdering and using starvation and mind games and forced hard labour to both physically and mentally turn them mad.
    H.Division, was a punishment division, used for the discipline of incorrigible, bad behaved, and hated by the screws, prisoners who had disobeyed the then strict prison regime rules, of that time.
    Back then prisonors had few if any human rights. And H.Division was run under strict secrecy from the public and was rarely ever scrutinised by higher authorities as to how it was run. That is why the crims called it the Bash House, and Hell Division, because any crim sent down there would never be the same again. It brutalised them into the hatred of violent men, with nothing but retaliation created on their minds, when they eventually got out of H.Division and back in to mainsteam Pentridge. Many former H.Division criminal went on to more violent crimes, and committed further murders. Christopher Dale, Mr Rent a Kill Flannery is one of the more famous crims to have served time in the notorious old H.Division in 1969. Back then The Prison Officer in
    charge of H.Division was known by every Pentridge Prisoner with fear as the Black Prince. He and his team of specially sadistic hand picked violent trained screws, all had military backgrounds and knew how the experience of the Japanese brutal torture treatments of World War 2 on Australian Prisoners of war.Could be used the same way on hated prisoners in the 1960,s.
    All prisoners, no matter how notorious or bad they were. Were sent to H.Division or Grafton Jail for the bash. And to break there rebellious behaviour, and in the process usually turn them certified or insane of ultra violent . The screws tried their best to break them, one way or another. And in the mid 1970,s, after several riots and protest, that were to eventully get exposed to the out side world.
    H.M.Prison Pentridge and its feared H.Division were the subject of a royal commission, called the Jenkinson inquiry. Most of the brutal violent screws were given forced retirement or transferred to parts of Pentridge Prison where they had no prisoner contact. H.Division then was not as strict with the bashing of prisoners anymore. And was run by different Prison Officers. And was from 1980, run as a high security management and high protection unit for dangerous high profile inmates, that had to be held securely in a prison from within a prison for the inmates own safety from other dangerous of high risk of escaping inmates in Pentridge Prison. It was at this time from 1975 to 1990, that Chopper Read was in H.Division, and the violence was between other enemy prisoners. While the screws tried to restrict prisoner movement and contain violent confrontations with them and dangerous inmates. Just for the record, the most famous Prisoner that ever survived the real true hard days of torture an brutality at the hands of the screws is Bill O,Mearly. He was sent to the then newly built H.Division Punishment Unit, and was the last Victorian Prisoner to be officially sentenced to hard labour and corporal punishment and flogged with the Cat ”O” Nine Tails. An he served many years in H.Division under the old brutal regime.
    William , Bill O,Mearly had been sentenced to Death in Pentridge for the Murder of a Police Officer in the 1950,s. His death sentence was on appeal changed to life in prison with hard labour.
    He was known as the Man they Could,nt Break. But in H.Division in 1958, they eventually did.
    He was still serving time in Pentridge Prison in 1974.


  15. i knew uncle chop chop very well. i was i hell div with him. its funny how people can make comments about someone they didnt know and i bet half you people who say negative things would of never said it to uncle chop chops face. would you agree boss dennis? rip chopper. thinking of u margaret


  16. Two crims that stood out above other notorious prisoners and were in down in H.Divison, The Slot Jason during my time as a screw in Pentridge, were Russell Cox and Mark Chopper Read. And both had respect in the prison world of old school crims and very long and colourful pasts in the Underworld. And both had more than likey had shot and killed to survive in there brutal underworld days in the old school , armed robbers and painters and dockers Keithy George Faure and the Lenny McPherson, George Freeman & Rodger Rodgerson days of Sydney and Melbourne, of the early 1970,s………………. These were different times in the criminal world. Hard men for hard times.
    Not like the shit that rules the Modern conditions in the Post Carl Williams Acasia Unit Slot of Barwon and other Victorian Corrections Unit Management Prisons. Today its the Prisoners of War Gang, and Matty Johnson. A somewhat, mean tough guy, but not as scary as the Chop Chop. All though I think Chopper likes Matthew Johnson, because he knocked Carl Williams and beatup his old enemy Greg Brazel in Acasia. But Chopper just had the horrible conditions of draconian H.Division overcoat gang in Pentridge in the 1970,s and 1980,s. Mark, didn’t just go with the flow, he got in first, kill or be killed. He did the world a favour bashing up Dennis Mr Death Allen, in the Old B.Division Dungeon, and that Rock Spider, that cut open a little girls vagina with a jam tin. As he said when he first went to Pentridge in 1971, there was no protection, just survival of the craziest and the maddest. He was a psyhco, and proud of it. That’s why he stayed on top of the criminal food chain, and out lived ,many enemies even though it finally caught up with him at a great cost to his health and young death at 58. Still he didn’t die at the barrel of a gun or a jail shiv, And walked proud and tall, after surviving so long in Maximum security stir. The Tattoos and scars on Chopper body, especially on his back, JIKA JIKA and H.DIVISION and J.WARD, are the marks that show he was a warrior and a survival expert of the hard brutal times of the old H.M.PENTRIDGE GAOL.
    Mark Brandon Chopper Read is to Pentridge folklore as Edward Ned Kelly was to the OLD MELBOURNE GAOL. CHOPPER would have made a interesting Bushranger. And Ned Kelly would have made a interesting inmate in H.Division. Both had a fetish for good firearms and new how to use them………………Cheers…………….Rest in Peace Mark and Ned Kelly. You both did what you had to do, to survive in hard times.


  17. Will miss Mark and his media input. Hope the next life is treating him better than the last one did.
    He was too young to die but faced it with the strength he had used to see him spend so much time incarcerated and come out the other side with his sense of humour and the ability to make it on the outside. Resting peace Mark.


  18. The final Mark Chopper Read interview with journalist Tara Brown of 60 minutes is now on youtube, for any Aussie criminal readers that want to understand how Chopper ticked. Worth Watching, it was filmed in Pentridge Prison. Where Mark was in maximum security for most of his younger life….. Also an interview of a younger Chopper, with the old 1990,s Hard Copy journalist Renee Black, who was also in the Chopper movie in 2000. The interview was filmed after Mark had been released from Pentridge, H.Division in 1991, and was filmed where he went to live, on a farm in Tasmania. After this film, he was to be charged with the attempted murder of Sidney Collins, who was a leader of a outlaw bikie gang. Chopper shot him, and was sentenced to Hobarts Risden Pink Palace Maximum Security prison, for many more years, before he finally retired from
    being sent to prison any more. In the 60 Minutes interview he confesses to 4 murders that he has committed in his life as a bounty hunter and tells that he later as a free man, bumped into Sidney Collins and this time he killed him. A Headhunter and bounty hunter to the end.
    Mark Chopper Read always said revenge is a dish best served cold. Chopper the H.Division Pentridge Billet always cleaned up the trash.


  19. Thanks Robbo, for adding these instant view, bookmarks to the Mark Chopper Read interviews. Mark would like that. Here he shows his warts and all true side, of his survival in his days of the Waterside Workers Union, Painters and Dockers, code of silence ,concrete boots days of 1970,s Great Bookie Robbery era of Melbourne.
    While I am not at all into the highlighting, and saying good things of violent and dangerous notorious Aussie crims, who have bashed, robbed, tortured, shot and murdered innocent victims…….. Having known Chopper in Pentridge. I put him in a separate league of one of a kind, and unique among the of old school type of crim, who only hurts those who, as Chopper says, were scumbags and had big holes in their manners.
    He also said he never was any threat or danger to the ordinary person in the street, and had no tears for tough guys. Unless a crim was a low life parasite drug dealer, standover man or a pedo or child molester who sexually abused of harmed or murdered children, like himself who had once been intererred with as a child, then they had nothing to fear from Chopper……….. In fact if there were other crims like Chopper, maintaining justice, law and order in our modern pathetic jails of high protection, there would be more fear of going to jail, like back in the 1970,s. When hard crims like Chopper kept the prison vermin rat trash under control . And give them a taste of their own medicine, with some instant rehabilitation Chopper Read style. Any Crim who calls him a dog, police informer, screw lover or hates him as they are always now posting on facebook and all social media, or survived a bashing from Choppers wrath, would have had to have been a violent dog and maggot that crossed Marks way of survival behind those tough bars of H.M. Prison Pentridge. It all very well to bad mouth him now he has passed on, but Chop Chop would just laugh it of. In his younger days when he was in Pentridge Jika Jika, he always said every body hates his guts. The same Chopper also made friends with anybody, Police, Screws and was even once a jail time friend of the notorious Hoddle Street Mass Shooting murderer,Juilian Knight, and Russell Mad Dog Cox in H.Division and didn’t ever bash them, so the point is , if a crim showed Chopper respect in his world , then he didn’t harm them. Where as if a fellow crim, threatened him, hurt him etc and tried to be a jail gangster over him. He very swift, silent and deadly, put them in their place of violence in a violent place. Chopper always said he was crazy, and had been certified many times in jail. But 1970,s and 1980,s Pentridge was a dangerous, violent and scary place to be locked up in Maximum Security. Chopper didn’t care about his critics!


  20. Pingback: 13 Things You May Not Know About Mark ‘Chopper’ Read | A WordPress Site

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  22. Author’s Bio: Jimmy Wright is a traveler cum writer.
    Adding the cornstarch mixture slowly and continuing
    to stir helps you judge the proper thickness of your sauce.
    Multi-tracks Back the day I possessed a four channel tape mixer, that cost everyone $800.


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  25. Good morning Mark. I was 17yrs 9mths when I started my first laggin that been Blue Brick college. U would know me but different to u I don’t put myself on show. I’m sorry to hear u have cancer cause I also have the cunt of a thing but I’m not dying till I see my boys (saints) win a flag. I also looked in the mirror one day and decided to change. Now I’m a social worker and trying to guide the plastic gangsters go on the right path please mate do the same and u seem like u r.. I
    Know u put yourself on show but I stay on the low key. Best thing now for me I get an invite of my family to Xmas lunch. Anyway I don’t go on with shit but do the good and try to show these kids that a life a crime is just a waste of the fantastic freedom we can enjoy. All the best toff. We will met one day and I will come and say Hello. Keep on the right tracks. Catch ya


  26. I can not believe how many sucks there are on this topic,Read was a lying gronk,nothing but a gutless dog,and you all love him so much,oh how staunch you all are.


  27. I read Chopper’s book back around 1995, with a former mate of mine called Jeff Fink. We both loved the shovel story, with the ‘Wharfie’ Greek guy (who loved Dean Martin’s music), who tried to bump off Chopper with a shovel. As stupid Chopper was, Chopper knew this Greek wharfie guy f****d up this hit on behalf of the Port Melbourne Painter’s & Docker’s Union (as most wharfies were Greek & Irish Australians) as Jeff put it “he leaves the weapons lying around and hands Chopper a shovel, to dig his own grave, which Chopper then uses as a murder weapon”. Of course Chopper will use the shovel to bump off the Greek guy! Chopper then said he drove the Greek’s car (a V8 Ford, I recall reading) back to Melbourne’s outskirts, around Reservoir and dumped it and caught the train back to South Yarra. This story could be true.
    Chopper and Mad Charlie had an on going feud with the the painters & dockers at Pentridge. I also knew this woman, called Silvia Zetelman who worked there as well and recalled the long term residents like Victor Pierce and Dennis Allen (enemies of Chopper), though Chopper was on good terms with Peter Allen, their brother (and known as the ‘Jailhouse Lawyer’) . I also heard Peter Allen was dying from cancer as well, in Jail ( I think in Gippsland or Geelong) , Peter would be around 63 years old now. A pity I couldn’t hire Chopper to get ride of Martin beetroot head or little Alex. Those 2 retards caused me a lot of grief, as well as Alex’s Pommy bitch, Tina, an alleged ex hooker, who worked for ‘Granny Cyclops’ at her brothels in Richmond and St Kilda, ahhh ‘the memories’ Tina…your ‘sugar daddy’ uncle Del is now gone…you dumped Alex and Rick dumped you..and Granny’s retired to Venus Bay…where are you going to get your money now Tina? Perhaps you can write some “fiction” crime novels, like old Chopper did! (Ha! Ha! Ha!)


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