Face of the day

Notorious Melbourne crime figure turned author Mark Brandon Read has died after a long battle with liver cancer aged 58.
Read died at the Royal Melbourne Hospital on Wednesday afternoon “after a long and courageous battle with liver cancer”, his manager Andrew Parisi said.
“This is how he would wish to be remembered, as someone who spun a great yarn and made many people laugh.”
Read’s death was a tragic loss for his wife, Margaret, and his sons, Roy and Charlie, he said.
“For more than fifteen years, Mark has lived a quiet life with Margaret in Collingwood. He worked as a writer, painter and public speaker, paid his taxes and took care of his family.
“At the time of his death, we ask that people reflect on how Mark was able to overcome his past and, after more than 23 years in prison, find a way to re-enter “normal” society.
“It is as a husband, father and friend that Mark will be missed most deeply.”
The family requested privacy in their time of grief.
Read had spent much of his adult life in prison for committing multiple violent crimes, and gained infamy in his younger days for sometimes using a blowtorch or bolt cutters to remove the toes of his targets.
He also had a fellow Pentridge Prison inmate slice off both of his ears while in jail.
Read later used his career in crime as the basis for a series of bestselling true crime books, although exactly how ‘‘true’’ many of the stories are has been questioned.
“Look, honestly, I haven’t killed that many people,” Read said in an interview with The New York Times earlier this year, “probably about four or seven, depending on how you look at it.’
Read was diagnosed with liver cancer in April last year and he also had cirrhosis. He said his illness started after contracting hepatitis C while in prison.
The owner of an inner Melbourne pub where Read was a regular said he last saw him a fortnight ago.
‘‘He just looked yellow, as sick as I’ve seen him for some time,’’ publican Glen McGee from Collingwood’s Leinster Arms said.
Mr McGee said Read was the pub’s first customer when it opened 12 years ago.
‘‘I remember it well and that’s as sick as I’ve seen him.‘‘He hasn’t drunk alcohol for nearly four years now because of his liver complaint.
‘‘People took him as Chopper Read, he was just Mark to us.’’ – news.com.au


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