A “violent and paranoid” prison inmate’s calculated efforts to make the revived Brothers 4 Life gang the prevailing criminal group in the Illawarra has been revealed in the court documents belonging to one of his most trusted lieutenants.
Richard Dutton’s courtroom confession this week to allegations he participated in a known criminal group has blown wide open the inner workings of the fledgling B4L Illawarra chapter, which sought to muscle in on territory left vacant by the departure of more traditional outlaw gangs from the region.
At the helm of the revived gang is well-known Illawarra criminal identity Damien Featherstone, who spent months directing the group’s activities from inside Goulburn’s Supermax jail while on remand for armed robbery.
Police will allege Featherstone was recruited into the gang by its founder and fellow Supermax inmate, Bassam Hamzy, and has since gone about building a small but loyal following among the region’s violent offenders.
Recorded jail calls reveal Featherstone ordered the gang’s members to commit serious crimes including assault, drug supply and gun running over four months from October to February.
Dutton was one Featherstone’s recruits and the man he trusted to take control of the gang’s criminal workings in his absence.
Court documents said the pair often used coded language when talking on the phone about the group’s ongoing acquisition of illegal firearms, referring to them as “sisters”, “cars” and “kids”, saying they had a financial value of “$20 to $30 grand each”.
However, at times the charade would falter, and simpler names would accidentally spill out, such as gats, gun, SK or roscoe.
Ammunition also took on different monikers including “petrol”, “battery chargers”, or simply “things”.
Featherstone also made reference to other B4L members or associates under his command including Andrew Coe and Kane Galvin.
Brothers Nathan and Shaun ‘Dournie’ Lamont were considered gang associates and at one stage Featherstone told Dutton to have the pair go to a house to retrieve firearms belonging to the gang.
”Get Dournie and Nath and go around there and say these are B and Ds so don’t f---k around,” he said in a recorded jail call to Dutton last November.
“Be official but polite, say these belong to D and B. Give us the f—king cars, that’s it.
“If the other brother finds out that they are being driven by someone that he doesn’t know I can guarantee you that he will send boys down.”
Featherstone was also sure to remind Dutton of the religious requirements of the new gang – “you got to remember to get the boys to Islam and God is great, trust your brothers like you trust me,” he said.
The pair also discussed how to handle new recruits, with Dutton asking Featherstone’s permission to “get a few of the boys together” to begin making the group some money.
“Do what you have to do,” Featherstone replied.
“I’ll give them a start and tell them you are with B4L now,” Dutton responded.
“I can get them some jumpers in a couple of weeks,” Featherstone said.
Dutton’s stand-in management of the gang came to an abrupt and bizarre end on January 4 when he deliberately fired a gun into the air outside Lake Illawarra Police Station before surrendering himself for arrest.
While the motive for the incident remains unclear, jail calls subsequently recorded Featherstone directing Dutton to bash certain other inmates while behind bars.
Featherstone is currently in custody in the ACT on unrelated matters.
Dutton will be sentenced next month.
The court cases for Coe, Galvin and the Lamont brothers remain ongoing.