A Comanchero bikie has been jailed for 14 years after the failed assassination of the gang's former Canberra commander, who lost part of a finger when hooded men shot up his home and set his cars on fire in an attack that "felt like something out of a movie".
Axel Sidaros, 25, is the only person to have been charged over the incident. He maintains his innocence despite a jury finding him guilty in December of seven offences, including attempted murder and arson.
In the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday, he was sentenced to 14 years behind bars, with a non-parole period of eight years. He was also ordered to pay $20,000 in reparations.
Gang tensions were running high at the time of the failed hit job, with a split in the Comanchero prompting long-standing Canberra chapter president Peter Zdravkovic to quit in early 2018 and burn his club colours.
Some time later, on June 28 that year, four assailants including Sidaros snuck onto Zdravkovic's Calwell property under the cover of darkness.
They set the yard alight, destroying three cars, and also poured fuel that did not ignite inside the house.
Two of the men, including a shotgun-wielding Sidaros, also fired at least eight bullets at Zdravkovic, who had emerged naked from the bathroom before allegedly shooting back with a rifle.
The firefight claimed a finger on Zdravkovic's left hand, while one bullet travelled next door and missed a sleeping neighbour by about a metre.
Another bullet lodged in Zdravkovic's mattress, near where his partner was hiding, while their three-year-old son had to be ushered back into his room after coming out to see what was happening as shots rang out.
Sidaros was arrested two months after the attack, and court records show that while in the ACT Watch House cells he made admissions to undercover police about playing a role in the incident.
However, the admissions were excluded from evidence at Sidaros' trial after the ACT Court of Appeal found Sidaros had already exercised his post-arrest right to silence before police moved to "defeat" that right by having undercover officers question him.
Regardless, he was found guilty at trial late last year and appeared in the ACT Supreme Court for sentence on Wednesday.
Zdravkovic's partner told the court the attack had felt like "something out of a movie", leaving her "broken" and suffering from depression and anxiety.
The woman said she lived in fear of the assailants coming back.
Her son also speaks about "the bad guys" and asks: "What if they come back again? What if they shoot us, Mum?"
The woman said her son still struggled to sleep at night, nearly two years on.
"My son and I never did anything to deserve this," she said.
"[For the offenders] to bring innocent people into this is so cruel and heartless."
Sidaros' father, Hani Sidaros, gave evidence that his son's association with bikies appeared to have begun only months before the Calwell incident.
He said Sidaros was bullied at school and had since been a "socially awkward" person with few friends.
Defence barrister Kieran Ginges said childhood experiences like this had made Sidaros an "emotionally immature" man who still craved the acceptance of others.
Mr Ginges said while Sidaros maintained his innocence, his sentence should take into account that jurors had found him guilty on the basis of him being "a follower, not a leader" in the attack.
But Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC said whether Sidaros had been a leader or follower, the man had wilfully "brought homicidal warfare to a Canberra suburb".
Mr Drumgold said that since being remanded in custody, Sidaros had written to Comanchero member Khaled Khoder about his continued desire to be part of the gang, and a willingness to lay down his life for his Comanchero "brothers".
"This is a lifestyle that he chose. It's very clear that he maintains that same motive," Mr Drumgold said.
ACT Policing Detective Sergeant Samuel Norman told the court Sidaros had been a Comanchero nominee at the time of the attack, and that he appeared to have taken part for the purpose of becoming a patched member.
Days after the incident, Sidaros was photographed in full Comanchero colours.
Chief Justice Helen Murrell said it "may only be a matter of luck" that prevented Sidaros killing Zdravkovic.
The judge said Sidaros' failure to accept responsibility for his crimes and his continued bikie links made him a substantial risk of reoffending.
The 14-year jail sentence she imposed also took into account a separate charge that Sidaros failed to properly store ammunition at his home.