Imprisoned drug lord Tony Mokbel was spoken to by concerned prison officials about a newspaper story that referred to him as a “prison big wig” and “enforcer” shortly before he was brutally assaulted and left fighting for his life.
- The day before Mokbel was attacked the Sunday Herald Sun ran a front page story claiming the drug lord had become an enforcer in the prison
- Two inmates, Teira Bennett and Eldea Teuira, have indicated they will plead guilty to two charges over the attack
- Mokbel suffered injuries including a fractured skull, brain haemorrhage and a suspected punctured lung in the incident
One of the two men who allegedly attacked Mokbel with homemade prison knives in the exercise yard, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in an induced coma, allegedly shouted “you’re not an enforcer, this is what you get for talking to screws you f***ing dog” as he launched the frenzied attack.
The alleged attackers, Teira Bennett, 21, and Eldea Teuira, 21, indicated today in the County Court that they would plead guilty to charges of intentionally causing serious injury in circumstances of gross violence, and recklessly causing injury in relation to the attack on Mokbel and another prisoner who came to his aid.
Details of the attack are contained in a prosecution document released to journalists.
Newspaper dubbed Mokbel a ‘big-wig’
The day before the February 11 assault, the Sunday Herald Sun newspaper ran a front page story that claimed Mokbel had “transformed from a street boss to a powerful enforcer and unlikely peacekeeper in Barwon Prison”.
The story went on to claim that Mokbel had recently “intervened in a prison standover scheme, disrupting an extortion racket being run by Pacific Islander inmates”.
The maximum security prison is home to some of Victoria’s most violent inmates, and is where Mokbel’s fellow drug boss Carl Williams was bashed to death with an exercise bike seat in 2010.
Mokbel is serving a 30-year prison sentence for drug trafficking.
The prosecution documents show that on the day the story ran, Barwon Prison’s operations manager went to Mokbel’s cell and spoke to him about the story.
Mokbel replied that he did not have any concerns, and that the article was a case of someone “out to make money”.
However, prison officials were sufficiently concerned about the effect of the article that extra prison guards were put on duty in the yard that day.
The next day was Bennett’s birthday, and other prisoners held a party for him on a grassy area outside his unit.
CCTV footage shows Mokbel approaching Bennett at the party and handing him a piece of paper.
Teuira then arrived at the party and spoke with Bennett.
An hour later, as Mokbel walked across the yard towards his unit, Teuira and Bennett walked towards him along a path.
As they intersected with Mokbel, Bennett punched him in the head, and the drug boss fell backwards, unconscious.
Teuira then pulled a “shiv” from the front of his shorts, crouched over Mokbel and stabbed several times in a “frenzied” motion.
While Teuira was stabbing Mokbel, Bennett kicked him repeatedly in the head.
‘This is what you get for talking to the screws’
Another prisoner, Steven Logan, tried to intervene and protect Mokbel, but was pushed away and stabbed in the side of the torso by Teuira.
While this was happening, Bennett ran around to Mokbel’s side, lifted his torso up and stabbed him in the shoulder.
In the meantime, the attack had been noticed by guards, and one ran to the scene.
As he approached, the guard heard Bennett shout, “You’re not an enforcer, this is what you get for talking to the screws you f***ing dog”.
Another prison officer heard Bennett shout: “You think you are an enforcer, well you are f***ing not you c***.”
The first prison officer on the scene saw shivs, or homemade knives, in the hands of both Bennett and Teuira.
He yelled at Bennett to drop the weapon, which the prisoner did.
Bennett then shouted to Teuira “throw it away cuss, throw it away”, and Teuira threw his knife about two to three metres from where he was standing.
As the prison officer brought Bennett to the ground, he heard him yell “G-Fam” and “Well done cuss, G-Fam”, a reference to a name that prisoners of Islander descent use to describe themselves in prison.
According to the prosecution document, Teuira replied, “yeah, happy birthday bro”.
Mokbel was treated first by prison staff for injuries that included stab wounds, a fractured skull, brain haemorrhage, black eyes, extensive bleeding, missing teeth and a suspected punctured lung.
He was then airlifted to Royal Melbourne Hospital in a critical condition and placed in an induced coma.
Surgeons at the hospital removed part of Mokbel’s skull in order to treat the haemorrhage.
Bennett and Teuira will return to court for a plea hearing in October.