Mark 'Chopper' Read. Photo Getty
Mark "Chopper" Read was no hero, but there are lessons to
be learned from his violent life, a former prison chaplain
The best-selling crime author who spent almost half his life
in jail died yesterday after a battle with liver cancer, aged
Read's crimes included armed robbery, assault and kidnapping,
even trying to abduct a County Court judge at gunpoint.
He also claimed involvement in killing 19 people and the
attempted murder of 11 others.
Former prison chaplain Peter Norden says there are lessons to
be learnt from Read's life and "warehousing" people in jail.
"He's no hero but I think you look at his life and there's
lessons to be learnt," he said.
"You wonder whether there must be a better way than putting
people in prison.
"Do we want to try and prevent creating characters like this
"If we want to do that, we've got to get in early.
"We've got to start when they're kids and young and make sure
they get a good education and access to jobs.
Mr Norden describes Read as a complex character who was a
loner in jail.
"He was unpredictable," he said.
"He came through the school where you had to fight to
But Mr Norden said Read's life changed for the better when he
met wife Margaret.
"She stuck by him and helped him settle and have a reasonable
life in the end," he said.
"If only he had've met someone like her much earlier in life.
"It might have been a bit more peaceful life, without so much
Read's books made him Australia's best selling true crime
author and he was immortalised in the movie Chopper, which
was released in 2000.
He leaves behind wife Margaret Cassar and sons, Roy and