Carl Williams' daughter defends murders 'for the family'

Carl Williams' daughter Dhakota was a baby in the midst of Melbourne's 35 gangland murders but to her, the man who ordered the deaths of at least four men, was a loving and devoted father.

Now 15, she firmly believes her father's actions were to protect her and her family from harm.

"It’s like, we know our dad as our dad, not what he’s described as in the papers, so we know him as fun and loving and caring for us and always makes, made us happy."

"He was all for us, all for us family."

In his time at Barwon Prison Carl Williams wrote hundreds of deeply intimate letters to her as well as friends and criminal associates, stripping back the layers of his gangland persona.

Carl with daughter Dhakota as a child
Carl with daughter Dhakota as a child

In his letters, Williams explains how the war unfolded and asserts it was a 'kill or be killed' situation.

I’m the first to admit that I wish I could turn back time and what happened never did. I did what I suspect any man would do.
I am no saint. but the people I killed were far worse people then I will ever be.

In letters to a prison girlfriend he said the gangland war began with an attempt on his life by the Moran brothers:

It was my 29th birthday and as far as I was concerned I didn’t have a worry in the world. That is, until I met someone whom I thought was a friend of mine.
Mark and I had been friends … he was supposed to give me half of whatever money he made through my contacts whilst I was in prison, which I thought was a win-win for both of us.
I have no doubt if Jason had a steady hand, and a set of balls, I would not be here today telling you my side of the story…. Jason then held that gun against my stomach and shot me at close range.

The confrontation ended with Carl being shot in the stomach and the war began.

Eight months after Carl was shot, it was Mark Moran’s turn. He was shot outside his house in Aberfeldie with a sawn-off shotgun.

Three years later, in 2003, a gunman in a balaclava shot Jason Moran at close range in a car overlooking an Auskick junior football field with five kids, including Moran’s twins, in the vehicle.

Carl's then-wife Roberta says she has uncovered a side to her ex husband she never knew when he was alive and says there were at least two more murders detailed in his letters.

After his sentencing for four murders in 2005
After his sentencing for four murders in 2005

"It shocks me. Some things I've read in the computer, kind of shocked me that he could look me in the face and be one person and I've read stuff and he’s another."

"Reflecting back on all the lives lost now and his life you know and thinking of who gets hurt in the motion of all this, it's quite sad and disturbing."

As the head of the Purana task force which investigated the gangland killings, detective Jim O’Brien got to know the criminal Carl Williams better than anyone.

"It was a classic example of how he used others to do this dirty work because he probably lacked the intestinal fortitude to do it himself," O'Brien said

"Carl Williams wasn’t there at the shooting, he didn’t do the shooting , he didn’t pull the trigger. He didn’t have to experience the trauma of it all. So it was easy for him to excuse it and go on with his life."

Carl's stepdaughter Breanane is fiercely defensive of Carl Williams who, in addition to ordering murders, was one of Melbourne’s most active makers and sellers of methamphetamines and ecstasy.

Dhakota and her step sister Breanane
Dhakota and her step sister Breanane

"I don’t need to convince anybody, as long as I know, and like, that’s all that matters really… as long as we know what he was like."

"We’re good people, but, maybe it doesn’t seem like that. But we are."

But Carl Williams' reign of terror ended when he was jailed for four murders and one attempted murder in 2005.

Carl Williams received sentences totalling 35 years – for four killings – but his life ended ignominiously five years later when a fellow prisoner bashed him to death.

Carl's letters to his girls show a completely different side to the mass murderer, illustrated with butterflies and teddy bears he dotes over his daughters.

Dear Dhakota, well hello there my beautiful daughter who I love with all my heart.. I’m so proud of you. You are the best daughter. There’s no no one better than you.

Breanane says the family portrayed in the TV series Underbelly is far from the actual Williams clan.

"I watched that TV show for the first time the other day and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, no wonder people think we’re ferals!'".

"I was dying. Oh my god, my mum is like a proper Shaz in that."

"It’s a good laugh, funny show, but far from the truth."

Carl and Dhakota feeding the ducks at Mooree Ponds
Carl and Dhakota feeding the ducks at Mooree Ponds

Dhakota recalled the day she was pulled out of class to be told her dad had been killed in prison.

"I got called into the office and my mum and stepdad and Bre were there and they were upset and crying. And I wasn’t sure why."

Roberta told her daughters the news and said it 'destroyed their world'.

"[Dhakota] looked at me for a second and just frozen and time sort of stood still for a second and then she said- my Dad? Not my Dad."

Dhakota and Breanane say their family's reputation precedes them in daily life, making it difficult to make friends.

"Friends’ parents, what they think of us, like not letting their kids come over and things. They don’t really know what we’re like, like, we’re normal."

Breanane says she has ambitions to work in child care and Dhakota wants to become a criminal lawyer.

They both think Carl would be proud.

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