Underworld figure Nabil Maghnie farewelled by hundreds of mourners

Nabil Moughnieh in 2016

Unlike his notoriously violent life and brutal death, the funeral of feared underworld figure Nabil Maghnie was a subdued and respectful affair.

Hundreds gathered around a simple plot in Northern Memorial Park in Glenroy on Wednesday to mourn the 44-year-old, who was gunned down on an Epping street last week.

Nabil Maghnie's sons stand over his coffin.
Nabil Maghnie’s sons stand over his coffin.

Maghnie’s coffin was greeted by the huge crowd – many young men dressed almost uniformly in black T-shirts and black pants – after his body arrived from a traditional Muslim ceremony held privately at a nearby mosque.

The coffin was set down on the edge of the car park for the Sugar Gum precinct, where, facing towards Mecca, Muslim attendees were led in prayer before Maghnie’s body was carried to the gravesite.

A floral arrangement placed nearby spelled out “Baba”, the Arabic word for father.

Among the mourners were one of Maghnie’s sons, Abbas Jr, and long-time associate Sam Shelby, who were both wounded by gunfire at the same time Maghnie lost his life.

Abbas Jr, also known as AJ, and his younger brother Ali both wore T-shirts emblazoned with “MNS”, the logo for the family company, Maghnie & Sons Logistics.

Police, who held concerns about a potential disturbance at the ceremony, were stationed in patrol cars in streets outside of the cemetery, which is hemmed in by the Western Ring Road.

No one has yet been arrested for Maghnie’s murder, and police are declining to comment on the progress of the investigation.

On Thursday, Maghnie was shot dead outside a house in Dalton Road, Epping, amid what appeared to be an escalating dispute over responsibility for a car accident involving a family member that happened days before.

Maghnie, AJ and Shelby were apparently unarmed, and the shooter was seen calmly walking away from the scene, uninjured.

Mourners at Fawkner cemetery.
Mourners at Fawkner cemetery.

It was a shocking but unsurprising end for a man with a well-earned reputation for a hair-trigger temper and dishing out extreme violence over both personal and business matters.

Underworld and police sources have described Maghnie as one of the toughest and most feared of the current generation of underworld figures, in no small part due to his unpredictably and extensive contacts in the city’s organised crime networks and the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang.

He was famous for driving himself to hospital after being shot in the face and chest in 2016, carrying a bullet in his neck to his grave.

Nabil Maghnie was a feared crime figure.
Nabil Maghnie was a feared crime figure.CREDIT:CHRIS HOPKINS

At the time of his death, Maghnie was suspected of involvement in a string of unsolved shootings and no less than four murders, including the drive-by shooting at the Love Machine nightclub in April 2019 that killed two people.

Individuals linked to Maghnie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly opened fire indiscriminately at a crowd standing in front of the venue in what is believed to have been a revenge attack for being ejected from the club.

Maghnie’s recorded criminal history, which dates back to 1993, pales in comparison to what he has been suspected of by police: drug trafficking, weapons offences and the attempted murder of bikie Toby Mitchell in 2011.

But none of that mattered to his family and associates, who posted glowing social media tributes to Maghnie after news broke of his death.

Scenes at the cemetery.
Scenes at the cemetery.

“There are no words which can describe our pain for such a tragedy,” his sister Fay wrote, also quoting the Koran: “Indeed we belong to Allah. And indeed to him we shall return.”

Maghnie’s long-time solicitor, Rob Melasecca, also offered an epitaph to his “dear friend” on Facebook.

“I first met Billy when he was 10. He became my client. My nephew. My son. My loyal oh so loyal brother and most of all my dear friend. There will be a big hole in my life which I will try to fill with memories and love for you. And yes I agree … he was a good boy.”

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Source: Brisbane Times