Out of respect for Mitch, Fitzy waited until the day after the funeral to continue his reconnaissance of the three ‘ankles’.
Like most criminal types the ilk of these people he sought, Fitzy expected they would be nocturnal, committing their criminal activities under the veil of darkness. How right he was.
After dinner Fitzy dressed in black clothing and a dark baseball cap. He drove Alison’s white Hyundai i30 to Corio and parked in an adjoining street, in a position from which he could monitor the comings and goings of Hepburn Court.
Hepburn Court was a shallow cul-de-sac containing only six houses. Each house in the court was a small, brick veneer Housing Commission home with a driveway and no garage.
His one in six chance of finding which house his targets lived in improved by the hour, as one-by-one, cars arrived home in three of the Hepburn Court homes. None of the occupants alighting from the vehicles were of African appearance. That left three houses.
Several hours passed with no movement at all. Fitzy yawned as he checked his watch. It was 2.10am, meaning most people would be in bed by now. He still had no idea who lived at the remaining three houses.
His eyes were heavy from his sedentary reconnaissance. His blinks took longer to open. He decided to stretch his legs to get some oxygenated blood back into his brain.
Following a check of his surrounds Fitzy lifted the door lever to elbow open the car door. He paused when bright headlights of a fast approaching vehicle appeared in his rear vision mirror. Fitzy slid down slightly in his seat.
A black luxury Audi SUV sped passed Fitzy and turned into Hepburn Court. It pulled into the driveway at number four. Three young men of African appearance alighted from the car and moved inside the house.
‘Gotcha…’ Fitzy said to himself.
He watched as they returned a short time later. One of the men carried a long black bag. The Audi reversed from the drive and sped out of Hepburn Court. Fitzy followed from a distance.
He followed the Audi for thirty-five kilometres to Werribee, in Melbourne’s outer west. The Audi stopped briefly at number twelve Wallace Court. Only the driver alighted from the vehicle and ran inside the house.
Fitzy now had the other home of his targets. After a short wait the man returned. The Audi reversed from the drive and sped from the area. It drove for around twelve kilometres to an address in the outer suburb of Tarneit.
Fitzy followed, but as they weaved through the quiet residential streets, he had no choice but to turn off his vehicle head lights, to avoid being burned. It was a precarious practice, however it was aided by the lack of traffic due to the early hour of the morning.
The Audi entered a new sub-division then pulled over to the kerb and parked. Fitzy pulled over in a side street. He checked the time. It was 2.57am. He quietly alighted from his car and moved to where he could monitor the three men.
He watched from a safe distance as they made their way to a house about five doors down on the opposite side of the street.
Each man was tall and skinny. They wore hoodies with the hoods draped over their heads. They each carried a weapon. One had a baseball bat, one carried a hammer and the other carried a steel bar.
The three men entered the yard of a house via a side gate. Around seven or eight minutes later two of the men sprinted from the same driveway, running back to their parked vehicle.
At the same time, the garage door at this address ascended. A white Mercedes sedan reversed from the garage before speeding from the driveway. The Black Audi followed the white Merc as they sped from the area.
Fitzy ran back to his car to follow. By the time he turned left to follow the cars, they were gone. Fitzy cursed as he accelerated to a ‘T’ intersection. He braked heavily. His head snapped left then right. Nothing but darkness.
‘Left,’ he mumbled to himself. He wrenched down on the steering wheel and accelerated through the quiet street. After a short drive he found himself in an undeveloped area; nothing but paddocks on either side.
Headlights through the open space, off to his right caught his attention. A car was doing burnouts.
Fitzy scanned the area. ‘Typical…’ he moaned, ‘should’ve gone right.’
While there was nothing but open land between Fitzy and the other car, there was no access to drive across to the paddocks. He had no choice but to back track.
After a short, but quick drive, Fitzy arrived at a new residential sub-division where the roads, footpaths and crossovers were in place but there were no houses.
He parked in a nearby side street, the last with established houses and moved back on foot to the corner. A side fence provided sufficient cover for him to monitor the cars.
The crooks he’d been following took turns putting the Merc through its paces, executing hand brake turns and burn outs that spewed plumes of white smoke from the squealing tyres.
Fitzy sighted down his extended thumb and forefinger and fired an imaginary shot at the Merc. ‘The things ya see when ya don’t have a gun…’ he mumbled to himself as he watched from afar.
The white Merc stopped moving after ten or so minutes. Headlights from the two cars were off. Without warning, the white Merc burst into a ball of fire. The bright orange flames contrasted against the black backdrop as they climbed high above the stricken luxury vehicle.
After briefly admiring their work, the three men returned to the Audi and drove towards Fitzy. As they neared, Fitzy returned to his car in the side street and ducked down behind the boot until the Audi sped passed.
From the outer areas of Tarneit, Fitzy followed the Audi back to number four Hepburn Court. The Audi parked in the drive and two of the men alighted from the car and moved inside the house.
The Audi reversed from the drive and returned to Werribee. Fitzy followed. At Werribee the driver parked the Audi by the kerb, two streets away from his home in Wallace Court.
The Audi’s indicators flashed twice against the black of night as the hoodie wearing man casually strolled his way to number twelve Wallace Court.
Fitzy needed to establish if there was any pattern, so he could establish when and where to strike and how. For the next two nights it was Groundhog Day. He followed the black Audi into the western suburbs, watched as the same three men broke into a house to steal a luxury motor car and punished it at a different remote location each time
Consistent with the first night, they later torched each car before returning to Corio, where two got out at Hepburn Court and the remaining man returned to Werribee.
He had his pattern. Similar time each night. Similar location. Same MO.
With Mitch’s committal hearing scheduled for this coming Thursday, the sentimental side of Fitzy decided to wait until the night before the committal to honour his promise to Mitch. It would be a fitting time to avenge the cruel and untimely murder of Mitch’s parents.
By the time Wednesday rolled around Fitzy was champing at the bit to seek his revenge. After following his targets for three nights of reconnaissance he now knew what he had to do, where he would do it and how he intended to do it.
For Wednesday night’s dinner Alison prepared a delicious chicken parmie and veggies. She had waited almost three months for this day to come. The big black “Xs” drawn over her kitchen calendar led up to the large heart drawn around tomorrow’s date. She was like a small child counting down the sleeps until Christmas.
Alison and Fitzy sat at the dinner table. She watched Fitzy pour her some red wine.
‘Thank you, Jack,’ she said.
Fitzy smiled as he poured his own glass.
‘I’m really worried about Mitch’s hearing tomorrow,’ Alison said.
‘I’m sure he’ll be fine.’
They clinked glasses.
‘Here’s to a favourable outcome for Mitch tomorrow in court,’ Fitzy said.
‘I’ll drink to that,’ Alison said.
Alison lifted her knife and fork. ‘Will you be heading out again later tonight, Jack?’ Alison asked as she knifed through her dinner.
‘Yeah, I think I will. I have some people I have to see in Melbourne… I made a promise to catch up with them when I got out…’
‘Oh, that will be nice.’
Fitzy smirked to himself. ‘I’m hoping so…’ he said.
Dressed in his all black clothing Fitzy made his way to Corio. He parked his car at his usual vantage point near Hepburn Court and settled back to wait.
As it turned out, he didn’t have to wait long. A set of headlights in his rear vision mirror caught his attention. It was the black Audi, right on cue. If nothing else, they were consistent. Fitzy adjusted himself in his seat as the Audi sped by and turned into Hepburn Court.
After a brief stop to pick up the two men from Hepburn Court, the Audi made its way along the Princes Highway towards Werribee. Instead of taking the Werribee turn off however, the black Audi continued along the highway towards Melbourne. A puzzled Fitzy followed. This was an unexpected break in their M.O.
After a further twenty kilometres, the Audi left the Princes Highway to take the on-ramp onto the Western Ring Road. This was all new to Fitzy. It had thrown out his well-prepared plans. The black Audi continued north along the Ring Road, towards the Melbourne airport.
At the Keilor exit, the Audi veered left and exited the freeway. Just when things were looking up for Fitzy, the Audi made its way across the freeway over pass and re-entered the Ring Road on the other side, to travel south, back towards the city.
They repeated this looping action for over one hour; same exit off the Ring Road, same entry back on. These actions puzzled Fitzy. All he could do was follow from a distance and watch.
Traffic along the well-illuminated freeway was light, mostly vans and trucks, which was to be expected for 2am in the morning.
After re-entering the Ring Road to travel south, the Audi moved into the left lane. Their speed reduced considerably. Fitzy had to wait well back to avoid being detected.
‘What the fuck are you up to…?’ Fitzy mumbled to himself.
After a few short minutes he had his answer. A White BMW SUV travelling south bound in the outside lane sped passed the slow moving Audi. The Audi increased its speed and moved in behind the BMW, holding its speed at an unsafe close distance.
When the BMW slowed on a long sweeping bend, the Audi rammed into the rear of the BMW. Glowing red brake lights lit up the night, as both cars braked heavily before pulling over to the left side of the road.
The Audi over took the now stationary BMW and parked immediately in front of it. Fitzy pulled over about one hundred metres back to watch what was happening.
As the driver alighted from his car, the three occupants of the Audi ran at the driver. Each one carried a weapon. Clearly panicked, the driver fled.
By the time the driver reached the rear of his car he was tackled to the ground. One of the African men began pounding down on the driver with multiple blows. The other two men kicked the defenceless man while he writhed on the ground.
‘You fucken dogs…’ Fitzy blurted.
They were carjacking the white BMW. Fitzy shook his head. It was hard enough watching them, night after night, break into people’s homes, steal their cars then later torch them and do nothing about it. But when they attacked someone as violently as this, it was time for him to act.
Fitzy stamped on the accelerator and drove towards the two parked vehicles. As he neared he moved onto the side shoulder. One of the men must’ve noticed Fitzy approaching. He turned and walked towards Fitzy. He held up his hammer, presumably to intimidate the driver of the approaching vehicle to make him keep driving.
Fitzy put his right indicator on, as if to indicate he was merging back out on to the freeway. It was a bluff to distract the man. Instead of veering right, Fitzy stamped on the accelerator and collided with the man, before he could react, hitting him at about seventy kilometres an hour.
The man’s body flicked up onto the bonnet and crashed into the windscreen, shattering it, before his body flew off to the side somewhere. A splattering of blood grouped where the man’s head struck the windscreen.
Fitzy skidded to a stop. He jumped from his car and ran towards the two men standing near the injured driver.
The African man holding a baseball bat moved to meet Fitzy. As Fitzy neared, the man aggressively swung the bat at Fitzy’s head. Fitzy anticipated the strike coming well in advance and ducked, allowing the bat to swing clear of his head.
Before the man could bring the bat back to the front after his full follow through, Fitzy blocked the man’s arm, trapping the bat elevated behind the attacker’s shoulder.
Fitzy delivered a series of strikes to the man’s head, which were in effect, to stun the man. Then, his training kicked in. Using an action he had performed countless times, Fitzy grabbed the man’s head and jaw and quickly and forcefully snapped it sideways, snapping the man’s neck.
Fitzy snatched the baseball bat from the man’s hands as the man’s lifeless body slumped to the ground. As he did so he winced from a forceful blow to his lower back area. He glanced over his shoulder. The remaining man stood close behind him.
Fitzy quickly pirouetted around to his rear, swinging the baseball bat as he turned. He struck the unsuspecting man to the side of his head. He quickly followed it up with a second strike to the other side of the man’s head.
A sickening crack sounded from each of the powerful blows. The man crashed, face first to the ground. Fitzy glanced down at the man lying prostrate on the ground. He adjusted his grip on the bat, but before he could deliver a third and final blow, the driver from the BMW approached.
The other driver’s face had several cuts and was covered in blood. His white, blood stained business shirt was torn and partially untucked. He held his right arm tightly against his side, supporting his ribs, as he limped towards Fitzy.
’Thank you so much…you saved my life. They said they were going to kill me… the man said.
‘No problem. Are you OK…?’
‘I’m OK…thanks to you. I’m sure glad you came along when you did.’
Fitzy’s knees started to wobble under his weight. The baseball bat fell from his hands. He cupped his forehead.
The man regarded Fitzy. ‘Are you OK…?’ The man asked. ‘Oh, Shit…’ he said as he moved around behind Fitzy. ‘You’re bleeding.’ The man gestured to Fitzy’s back.
Fitzy touched the area of his right, lower back then inspected his hand. Blood covered his fingers. His eyes dropped to the man lying face down at his feet. The man’s right arm was pinned under his body.
Fitzy grabbed a generous hand full of the man’s clothing, around the shoulder area and flipped the man on to his back. A knife with a fifteen centimetre blade was on the ground under the man’s body. Blood was visible on the blade.
‘I think you have been stabbed…?’ The man said.
‘I thought he punched me in the back…’ Fitzy said. His eyes dropped to the knife.
‘You better sit down.’ The driver said. He assisted Fitzy to the ground. He ran back to his car and removed his first aid kit from the boot and returned to Fitzy.
Fitzy’s head was light. He started to shiver yet the air temperature wasn’t cold. The BMW driver applied a compression bandage to Fitzy’s wound. Once the bandage was securely in place the man ran back to his car to retrieve his mobile phone to call an ambulance.
While on the phone to the dispatch operator the man checked the pulse of the man lying near Fitzy.
‘He has a head injury but there is no pulse…’ the man said into his phone.
He moved to the other man lying nearby. ‘No. No pulse on this one either,’ he said.
The driver quickly walked back up the road to the man Fitzy hit with his car. The BMW driver gazed down at the man’s body. He didn’t bother to check for a pulse. ‘No, this one’s gone as well,’ he said. ‘But we still have one with a stab wound to his lower back…please hurry.’
The man jogged back to Fitzy. ‘An ambulance is on the way, mate. Hang in there.’
Fitzy’s shivering progressively worsened. The other man ran back to his car, grabbed a blanket and a bottle of water and returned to Fitzy. He draped the blanket over Fitzy’s broad shoulders while he helped Fitzy take a sip of water.
The man checked Fitzy’s dressing, which was now blood soaked. He checked his watch, then nervously rubbed his forehead as he surveyed the highway in both directions.
It would be a further ten minutes before the faint sound of sirens could be heard. Flashing blue and red lights appeared off in the distance against the black backdrop, moving closer and closer as the sirens grew louder.
By the time the ambulance arrived, Fitzy’s face wore a sickly ashen pallor. He lapsed in and out of consciousness as the Ambos worked to stabilise him. His eyes were shut when the ambulance officers loaded him into the ambulance.
He wouldn’t see any of the high speed ambulance journey to the nearest hospital.