SCUMBAG V KILLER IN JAIL BATTLE
GUARD FORCED TO SHOOT TO STOP FIGHT
CONFRONTING footage has emerged of a convicted murderer bashing a maximum-security inmate during a vicious fight inside the notorious Goulburn jail.
The melee was only broken up when a prison guard — fearing one of the men would be killed — fired a warning shot.
Killer Joseph Gatt, 28, was revealed as one of the fighters in the bloody brawl when he was sentenced recently to 21 years’ jail for shooting dead a Comanchero bikie associate.
The CCTV video shows more than a dozen inmates walking around yard 13 at Goulburn jail about midday before Damien George, 35, threw a punch at Gatt.
The confrontation shifted across the yard over to a barb wire fence while inmates watched on but didn’t intervene.
One spectator was stripped down to his jocks in the midday sun and another threw a shoe into the air.
A shirtless Gatt was wearing gloves and appeared to choke George, who had blood pouring down his face, up against the yard fence.
George is serving time for shooting his girlfriend Rosanna Robertson in the back of the head after a night at the pub in West Ryde in 2007.
Gatt laughed as he wrapped his hands around 35-year-old George’s neck then punched him several more times before he dropped to the ground in the fight which occurred in January, 2016.
Other prisoners were seen patting Gatt on the back before they all scattered when a prison officer fired a warning shot into a wall, fearing George was going to die.
Guards had not entered the yard to stop the brawl before the shot was fired after about two minutes.
The confrontation was detailed when Gatt was sentenced this year to 21 years’ jail for murdering bikie associate Bassil Hijazi at Bexley in 2013.
Gatt and George were both charged with affray after the melee — which prison sources described as tame compared to other incidents of jail-yard violence — but the charge against George was later withdrawn.
He spent five days in confinement instead, after being treated in Goulburn Hospital for his injuries. Gatt was sentenced to 22 months’ jail.
A Corrective Services spokeswoman said the footage was an example of the difficult situations often confronting prison officers.
“Any response to incidents is carefully considered and responding teams only intervene once they are adequately prepared with safety equipment and it is safe to proceed,” she said.
Prison Officers Vocational Branch vice-chair Jason Charlton said brutal fights between prisoners was “unfortunately what happened in jail”.
Prison officers had to weigh up the risk of being ambushed by inmates or assaulted before deciding whether to intervene.
“We are told to stand and put our own safety first and not go in until there is adequate staff,” he said.
“There is always safety concerns at Goulburn because of the type of inmates it holds and they are always going to be on high alert.”
Gatt and George fight in the yard of Goulburn jail.