GOBBO ANDTHE HITMEN
LINK TO AUSKICK GANGLAND KILLERS
NICOLA Gobbo spoke to one of the men behind the infamous execution of Jason Moran an hour before the hit.
Phone records show the man who supplied the guns for the hit, dubbed “The Italian”, called Gobbo at 9.33am on June 21, 2003, an hour before Moran and bodyguard Pasquale Barbaro were shot in front of Moran’s children at an Auskick clinic.
Call logs obtained by the Herald Sun show Gobbo and “The Italian’’ communicated regularly in the week leading up to the double murder, including a call at 11.52pm the night before.
Legal sources would later speculate Gobbo knew the hit — organised by the Moran family’s underworld nemesis Carl Williams — was about to take place. Details of the calls also prompted speculation among lawyers that Gobbo may have helped plan an alibi for “The Italian” and close friend Williams, involving blood tests in Prahran as part of a diet regimen.
“I’m confident she knew what was about to happen,’’ a legal source said. “It was so obvious to me she was in with these people. She was in up to her neck with all these heavy-duty criminals and I just couldn’t work out why.
“It is the relationship with (‘The Italian’) that links her to the murders.’’
The brazen public executions of Moran and Barbaro, at the Cross Keys Reserve, Essendon, thrust Melbourne’s bloody gangland war into the national spotlight.
A contracted gunman opened fire about 10.35am on June 21, after approaching the mini-van Moran was sitting in.
The masked man, who cannot be named, used a shotgun to blast Moran in the driver’s seat, then pulled out a revolver to shoot dead Barbaro, who was in the passenger seat.
Moran’s twin children were among five Auskick kids in the back of the van who saw the horrifying attack.
Call charge records indicate the gun supplier talked to Gobbo at length on June 14, a week before the hit, frequently on the Wednesday and Thursday before the attack and for about 10 minutes late on the Friday night.
After getting off the phone with Gobbo in the early hours of the execution day, “The Italian” had at least three calls with the hitman.
Call logs suggest both men had been up through the night.
“The Italian” also tried to call Williams, who ultimately pleaded guilty to ordering the hit. The phone records were contained in evidence which was to be used in Williams’ prosecution, but were never aired because of his plea. When the calls were examined, it was speculated Gobbo was in a romantic relationship with “The Italian” and had helped devise his alibi.
On July 4, 2003, less than a fortnight after the MoranBarbaro murders, Gobbo escorted “The Italian’’ to a police interview, where he gave his alibi.
Police reports reveal he told anti-gangland detective Sergeant Stuart Bateson he had gone with Williams to Victoria House, a medical clinic in Prahran, at the time of the hit.
He said he picked up Williams about 9am at the house of Williams’ mother, “Barb”, before they travelled via CityLink to the clinic.
Sgt Bateson noted in an information report also obtained by the Herald Sun that “The Italian” had spoken to Gobbo by phone twice on the morning of the murders.
He also noted the phone conversations were “confirmed by Gobbo’’.
The information report does not specify the time of the calls.
Gobbo’s connections with the Williams crew led the antigangland Purana taskforce to consider tapping her phone.
Soon after, she began giving information to Sgt Bateson, in a precursor to her most involved period of informing to police.
The supplier of the guns secured a heavily discounted jail term over his role in the Moran-Barbaro executions after Gobbo helped make him a supergrass.
The Lawyer X royal commission has also uncovered that Gobbo was allowed by police to read and edit statements by “The Italian”.
The scene at Cross Keys Reserve (top left) where Jason Moran (above) and Pasquale Barbaro (left) were shot; Carl Williams (far left).