Roberta Williams with her former father-in-law George. Photo: Jason South
The father of slain underworld kingpin Carl Williams says he knew nothing of a reported plan to sue the Victorian prison system for $1 million for suffering caused by his son’s murder until he learned of it in the media this morning.
But on the second anniversary today of his son’s death at Barwon Prison, George Williams said he would ‘‘probably’’ join the action in the hope to get a ‘‘big sum’’ of cash for Williams’s children.
Even though he weren’t supporting them, they’ve still got to go on in life and they’ve got to go on without their father. It’s a big thing to go through life without a father.
A writ could be served as early as today against Corrections Victoria for pain and suffering caused by Williams’ bashing death in the high-security Acacia Unit of Barwon Prison two years ago, the Herald Sun has reported.
Roberta Williams is said to be seeking $1 million for Carl's death.
The newspaper said that the writ would be issued in the names of Williams’s father George, his ex-wife Roberta, daughter Dhakota and stepdaughter Breanane, and would include a claim for benefits negotiated by the slain gangland killer in return for his co-operation with police in a major investigation.
But George told radio station 3AW today that he had no knowledge of the writ until he heard about it on radio this morning.
It follows the release of a damning Ombudsman’s report yesterday that said prison authorities knew there was a risk Williams could be murdered in jail but failed in its statutory duty to protect him.
‘‘I just turned the radio on to AW and I just heard it then. I know nothing about it,’’ George told the radio station of the writ.
But he said he was not opposed to joining in.
‘‘I haven’t as yet [joined], I probably will,’’ he said.
‘‘I think the kids should get a big sum. I think I’m entitled to some. How much I don’t know. I think that will be settled when the time comes but the kids do miss out on having their father. Even though he weren’t supporting them, they’ve still got to go on in life and they’ve got to go on without their father. It’s a big thing to go through life without a father.’’
George claimed his son, with whom he shared a prison cell at one point, had asked at least 100 times to be moved within the prison before he was bashed to death with the stem of an exercise bike by Matthew Johnson, who shared the high-security Acacia Unit with him.
George said his son had requested to be imprisoned instead with Melbourne underworld figures Tony Mokbel and Evangelos Goussis.
‘‘If he had moved he wouldn’t be dead,’’ George said.
He also justified the compensation claim by saying Williams was a father who was killed either by a conspiracy or ‘‘massive incompetence’’ on the part of Corrections Victoria.
‘‘He might’ve been locked up for 35 years but he was still a father and you might say he was mixed up in the gangland wars and them kids had fathers too,’’ Mr Williams said.
‘‘Yes, I believe that, but most of the gangland wars was for protection for his life and family. I’m not saying all of it, but that was a great deal of it which the public don’t know. They’re programmed by newspapers as to what goes on.
‘‘Whether he was wrong or right in what he done, he was still my son.