Gangster clan matriarch convicted of ordering hit

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The Independent Online

The flamboyant matriarch of one of Australia's most notorious crime gangs faces life in jail after being convicted of masterminding the murder of her brother-in-law in a dispute over the family's fortune.

Judy Moran, 66, ordered the hit on Des "Tuppence" Moran and accompanied the gunman to the scene of the murder because she believed Mr Moran had cheated her of millions of dollars and had "dissed" her.

Her brother-in-law died in a Melbourne café in 2009 when the hitman, Geoffrey "Nuts" Armour, pumped seven bullets into his head and chest. The gangland godmother waited in the car outside and patted the killer on the back after the killing.

She returned to the café shortly afterwards and pretended to be distraught upon finding the body. "Dessie! Dessie!" screamed the former showgirl, but her pretend grief failed to satisfy the suspicions of detectives who arrested her the following day. When they searched the safe in her home they found handguns, a stash of bullets, gloves, a ski mask and a wig.

Police hope that her conviction for murder, six days after the jury started deliberating, signals the end of a decade-long gang war in Melbourne which has left more than 24 people dead.

The saga leading up to the conviction of the matriarch, who had a taste for caviar and designer clothing, would have been at home in a script from The Sopranos television show. She lost two husbands and two sons to gangland hits, she commemorated dead family members with potted roses – talking to them over cups of coffee – and she was always perfectly coiffured at funerals. In her autobiography, she paid special tribute to her hairdresser.

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