Police foiled Nabil Maghnie plan to whack Mick Gatto

Nabil Moughnieh in 2016

Carrying a revolver and speeding through the city in a black Mercedes, Nabil Maghnie was once just minutes from murdering Mick Gatto. It comes as police doubt even Maghnie would’ve known how many people he’d shot.

Maghnie – who was murdered earlier this month in Melbourne’s northern suburbs – was stopped by police outside Melbourne Town Hall with feared underworld figure Gavin Preston in December, 2011. The police found a loaded .45 calibre six-shot revolver in a black Mercedes-Benz, which was being driven by Maghnie.

Mick Gatto
Mick Gatto

Police suspected they were travelling to a nearby restaurant to shoot Gatto. The pair were never charged over the Gatto murder plot claims, but Maghnie was jailed on a firearms charge.

Homicide Squad detectives are yet to make an arrest in their probe into the feared standover man’s murder in Lalor on January 9.

The Herald Sun understands police fear the alleged killer could use a self-defence argument when he is eventually charged – similar to the one Gatto successfully used after he was charged with the murder of hitman Andrew Veniamin in a Carlton restaurant in 2004. One law enforcement source said: “When you have got someone like Nabil turning up like he did and given the stuff he has done in the past … he might have an argument for self-defence.”

Maghnie and Preston were also suspected of shooting former Bandidos strongman Toby Mitchell just days before the Town Hall arrests. Mitchell, who is now a member of the Mongols MC, was severely wounded in an ambush outside the Bandido clubhouse in Weston St, Brunswick.

Toby Mitchell
Toby Mitchell

The attempted hit on Mitchell is suspected of being ordered by Italian organised crime figure Rocco Arico.

A policeman who dealt with Maghnie in the Broadmeadows area in the early 1990s said he was always destined to be a career criminal. At that point, Maghnie was a teenager mixed up in car theft, pursuits and traffic offences.

“He was always on our radar,” the officer said.

Although he was never a member, Maghnie is suspected of having been a key ally of the Comanchero bikie gang for many years. Police who had investigated Maghnie said the true extent of his criminal activities may never be known.

“I’m not sure even he would know how many he’s shot,’” one detective said.

The Herald Sun has been told Maghnie was suspected of shooting one of his victims – a fellow Middle-Eastern Organised Crime identity – on two separate occasions. The same man is believed to have also shot Maghnie.

One of his most fierce foes, a violent drug-dealer and gunman, in 2016 almost killed Maghnie when he opened fire through the windscreen of his car in a late-night ambush at a still unknown location. Police said Maghnie had known he was under threat but went to the arranged meeting regardless.

He returned fired repeatedly from inside the car before dusting himself off and driving to a hospital with a bullet in his neck. Maghnie had two months earlier punched on with that man in a brutal stoush at Crown Casino.

Police suspect Maghnie and Gavin Preston shot the ex-Bandido outside the clubhouse in 2011. Gavin Preston Close associate of Maghnie for many years. Leader of the ultra-violent Prisoners of War gang.

Rocco Arico Melbourne Mafia figure suspected of commissioning the Maghnie hit attempt on Mitchell. Mick Murray Comanchero boss believed to have strong links to Maghnie.

Mick Murray
Mick Murray

Comanchero and security industry figure injured in October, 2016, shooting at Berwick. Maghnie later denied underworld suggestions he was involved.

Clay Aumatagi Security industry figure wounded in September, 2015, shooting. His bouncers had earlier brawled with Maghnie and Comanchero Samson Bazi outside CBD nightclub.

Maghnie suspected of a 2011 plot to murder Gatto which was interrupted by police. Mitat Rasimi Former Tony Mokbel associate murdered in roadside ambush at Dandenong in March last year.

Maghnie was questioned in November about the killing. Richard Arow and Aaron Osmani Murdered in drive-by shooting at Love Machine nightclub last April. Maghnie was a suspect in Taskforce Sector investigation.

Jacob Elliott 18-year-old son of Maghnie. Charged over the Love Machine murders.

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Source: Herald Sun