What happened when three of the most dangerous men went to war
Inside Silverwater Prison, Australia's most influential crime boss Bassam Hamzy was handed a note that said: "I'm going to shoot your f … ing cousins".
That message - slipped into his cell in 2012 and revealed in a 2014 court case - saw a simmering dispute between three of Australia's most feared criminals explode into war.
By the time it was all over, shots had been fired between gang members in a suburban street, a mother was stood over for $5000, a middle-aged woman was shot eight times through a door and a prearranged fight took place inside the state's most secure prison.
Today we can finally reveal how that war began.
Many of the details were revealed in the 2014 court case, where the man who passed the note was jailed for shooting Hamzy's aunt through a door.
Legally, he cannot be identified but we will refer to him as XL. His criminal credentials include being a fearless, shoot-first lunatic who was found not guilty of robbing millions from armoured cash trucks.
On XL's side was Bilal Haouchar.
Haouchar is the state's most wanted man, who is currently hiding from the police in Lebanon.
The 34-year-old former Merrylands resident is a notorious gun for hire who experiences "revenge fantasies" and once boasted about wanting to shoot a member of the Ibrahim clan.
In 2012, Hamzy's family were the object of Haouchar's fantasies.
Hamzy is serving a prison sentence for murder, which did not stop him establishing the Brothers For Life crime gang while behind bars.
His power and influence extends to still being able to direct drug syndicates and arrange for violence to be inflicted on his enemies via a collection of smuggled mobile phones.
The dispute is understood to have its origins with Houchar wanting revenge on Hamzy's cousin Bilal Hamze.
While giving evidence in his 2014 trial, XL said Haouchar had expressed his anger towards Bilal Hamze.
"I don't remember his exact words but he was angry with him because Bill Hamze had bashed his younger brother before," XL said in an unsubstantiated claim while being cross-examined.
XL told the court he trusted Haouchar after their 10 years of friendship and added: "He is pretty aggressive" and "he is a leader".
When asked if he felt the need to impress Haouchar, XL said: "A little bit".
XL also gave his take on Haouchar's obsessive nature after visiting him in jail, telling the court: "He is not a full spinner, he is probably a half spinner."
"If you are calling them a spinner it is like a crazy person," XL told the court. "Like ridiculous things that wouldn't be achievable, but in jail you think it is possibly achievable or you will fantasise about doing those kind of things."
On July 21, 2012, Haouchar was accused of shooting at Bilal Hamze and members of the Brothers For Life gang at Guildford.
He was in custody over the shooting when XL visited him in jail.
XL did not reveal if his feelings of admiration for Haouchar were what prompted him to join the war.
But he had his own issues with Hamzy's family.
While behind bars in 2012, XL had asked Bassam Hamzy to help him with collecting a $20,000 debt that was owed to him by someone outside prison, the court heard.
But, after the money was collected, the court heard Bilal Hamze went to XL's mother's home and extorted $5000 from her.
Which led to the note XL passed to Bassam Hamzy in 2012.
"It was in the cells together and writing on a piece of paper and writing, writing notes to each other," XL told the court.
After being released, he went to the Auburn home of Bilal Hamze's 44-year-old mother, Maha, on March 9, 2013.
He fired 21 times through the front door, with eight of the bullets hitting Maha in the legs, Crown Prosecutor Lou Lungo told the jury.
XL denied firing the shots but the jury disagreed and found him guilty.
Back in jail, XL had unfinished business with Bassam Hamzy.
The pair were both at Goulburn's Supermax Prison when they managed to prearrange having a punch-up, XL told the court.
"Yes, when I came back into jail we had an altercation. Yeah," XL told the court.
But XL stuck to the code of silence and denied it had anything to do with the dispute with Bilal Hamze.
"No, not of the shooting," XL told the court.
"Because we're supposed to have a fight (and we) arranged to have a fight before I went out of jail. We had arranged to have a fight."
Asked if it was "friendly sparring", XL said: "No."
"It was an arranged one, and fight one another," he told the jury. "Stuff like that happens in jail all the time. People have disagreements. They have a fight. Fight it out with one another."
As a postscript, sources said XL and Haouchar have since fallen out, with the origin of the dispute unknown.
However, once source said the tension level between the two was high.
Originally published as What happened when three of the most dangerous men went to war