Who is Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read?

Who is Mark “Chopper” Read?:

Mark “Chopper” Read is probably the most infamous criminal in Australian history.

He was a larger-than-life character who slowly became a part of the country’s identity. A violent and unpredictable criminal who somehow managed to make the Australian public revere him through his books, comedy shows and public appearances.

Read was responsible for the death and torture of many underground figures, his acts of violence were often as spontaneous as they were disturbing.

He was also married… twice. The infamous Chopper Read was husband and father.

The man behind the celebrity and the criminal

A self-confessed killer, how did Chopper Read become the anti-hero of Australia?

Calling himself the 21st Century’s Ned Kelly, Chopper Read is a man hard to forget.

His life knew no bounds, from the story behind Chopper Read’s ripped ear, his infamous tattoos or the legend of his criminal transgressions.

Mark “Chopper” Read was an Australian convicted criminal, gang member 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.

Mark “Chopper” Read, better known by the Family name Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read, was also popular a Singer/Rapper, TV, Film.

When was Chopper Born and early life:

Read was born on 17 November 1954 to a former army and World War II veteran father Keith Read of Irish descent 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.

The career criminal spent most of his childhood moving between foster homes, orphanages and psychiatric hospitals and in his late teens he entered the criminal underworld. Read joined the “Surrey Road Gang” and was soon a well known street fighter.

He grew up in the Melbourne suburbs of Collingwood and Fitzroy. He was bullied at school, saying that by the age of 15 he had been on the “losing end of several hundred fights” and that his father, usually on his mother’s recommendation, beat him often as a child.

Read had been molested 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 states he underwent electroshock therapy.

Between the ages of 20 and 38, Read spent just 13 months outside jail, a little over a year as a free man.

During his time behind bars, he inflamed a gang war inside Pentridge Prison’s infamous H Division. He then infamously made one of his fellow inmates cut off both his ears so he would be transferred out of the wing.

In 1982, Read expressed concerns that he would never be able to leave his violent past behind and create a new life for himself.

“I don’t want to get married, or raise a brood of children, or lead a normal life,” he said.

“I’ve got no interest in that.”

But when he was released in 1991, he did just that.

Read moved to Tasmania and attempted to live a crime free life with his partner, Margaret Cassar. Cassar famously said she never knew “Chopper”, only Mark.

“I see a very gentle person and I see a lot of warmth in him where others may not have been able to reach,” she said.

However, the couple later broke up and Read returned to the underworld.

In 1992, he was convicted of shooting bikie boss Sidney Collins in the chest. It’s alleged that Read shot Collins in his own car, before driving him to the hospital.

During a 2013 interview with 60 Minutes, Read admitted he shot Collins because the bikie boss had invited him to his wedding and demanded an $8000 gift.

“I’m not giving $8000 to his bloody wedding, I don’t even know how to ride a motorbike,” he told the program.

In 1995, while still serving time in Tasmania’s Risdon Prison, Read married a woman named Mary-Ann Hodge. Their son, Charlie, was born in 1999.

Hodge was private educated and worked for the ATO. She had read Read’s first book and arranged to meet him.

When he was released from prison, Read started to embrace the public life. He wrote more auto-biographical books and toured his comedy show throughout the country.

In 2001, he left Tasmania and Hodge behind and moved back to Melbourne. According to the ABC, Read later confessed he only married Hodge in an attempt to get out of jail.

Hodge told the media she never knew the “lovable rogue” side of Read, only the violent mood swings which were further fueled by alcohol and prescription drugs.

In Melbourne Read reunited with Cassar, the pair married and went on to have a son together who they named Roy.

Read and Cassar remained married until Australia’s most notorious criminal died from terminal liver cancer in 2013.

Mark “Chopper” Read Personal Life, Relationships:

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 son, Charlie, and divorced in 2001. On 19 January 2003, he married long-time friend Margaret Cassar, and they had one son, Roy Brandon.

Mark “Chopper” Read’s Death and Cause of Death:

On 9 October 2013Mark “Chopper” Read died of non-communicable disease. At the time of his death, he was 58 years old. At the time of his death he survived by his large extended friends and family.

Read contracted hepatitis C during his time in prison, possibly as a result of using shared razor blades. In March 2008 he revealed he only had two to five years to live and required a liver transplant. However, he refused to agree to the procedure, stating that while a transplant would save him, he did not want one when an organ could be provided to someone else.

 In April 2012, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. He underwent surgery in July 2012 to remove tumours from his liver and in late September 2013 he was admitted to Melbourne Private Hospital in failing health.

He died of the illness on 9 October 2013, aged 58, in Parkville, Victoria at Royal Melbourne Hospital

Mark was buried in Northern Park Wills (Lawn), GlenroyMoreland CityVictoriaAustralia

Mark was buried in Northern Park Wills (Lawn), GlenroyMoreland CityVictoriaAustralia

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