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This old bikie never gives up the fight


Caesar Campbell

Victorious ... Bandido bikie Caesar Campbell, shot three times / Pic: Stefan Postles Source: The Daily Telegraph

OLD bikies never die. They don't mellow, either.

Caesar Campbell, the biggest and baddest of all, took three shots at the Milperra Massacre.

Between the second and third shots - a shotgun followed by a .38 - he reached over to tear the throat out of Comanchero Ivan "Sparra" Romcek, who died right there. He was 38 then. Caesar, not Sparra.

He is 64 now, sitting in the loungeroom of his home in the Snowy Mountains region, with pictures of his brothers on the wall as clean-cut young men. Then there is the other photograph, the brothers photoshopped together with their bushy bikie beards.

Here are the two sides of the man called Caesar.

Moments earlier, his son walked into the loungeroom and grabbed his father by the hand and leaned over to kiss him on the forehead.

"Hey Dad," he said.

"Son," said Caesar.

Amid all the Bandidos paraphernalia decorating the room, sitting on the coffee table is a single sheet of paper - a hospital report from January this year. It details the two scars across Caesar's forearm, the scar across the shoulder that bisects a tattoo and the pale scar that runs across his cheek.

"I told the cops I had a run in with sheet metal," Caesar said, explaining the scars.

Four pieces of sheet metal, to be exact.

"I was walking a bit behind the woman," he said, indicating his wife Donna, "and one of them decided he was going to put his hand on her shoulder. So I stepped on the four bits of sheet metal and one of them had a jagged edge and happened to get me.

"But," he said, "the jagged edge had a piece of metal go up here," and he pokes the soft skin under his jaw, "and it come out here."

He points to where the steel came out through the tongue.

The obvious hazards of scrap metal are not all the dangers ex-bikies face.

Caesar has been shot more times since he left jail than he was at Milperra, when along with his brothers Shadow, Bull, Wack, Snake and Chop he took on the Comanchero in the most famous bikie brawl in Australia.

In the new book Enforcer, which Donna wrote with the help of her friend Liz - out on Monday and described by Donna as "97 per cent fact and 3 per cent fiction" - Caesar details how the war started, not because the Comanchero had split over issues of power, as was pushed in court, but because the Campbell brothers had caught Comanchero president Jock Ross having an affair with a club member.

Ross soon split the club so he didn't have to answer charges, and the city chapter eventually patched over to become Bandidos.

Guerrilla attacks escalated until the two gangs ran into each other at the Viking Tavern on Father's Day 1984, when seven eventually died.

Caesar was the second man shot after his brother Snake, two blasts of a shotgun putting him down next to Sparra before a Comanchero named Robert "JJ" Heeney - or maybe it was his Ol' Lady, Caesar always thought she had more balls - shot him with the .38 that lodged under the skin in his forehead.

He can't remember a lot of what happened next. The .22s, he said, sting, while shotgun blasts are more like being thumped with a baseball bat.

The last time he was shot was several years back when he was watering his lawn and a car rolled past, with the windows coming down. He dropped the hose and opened his arms when - crack, crack - two .22s hit him in the guts.

"Is that the best youse can f ... ing do?" he yelled at the fleeing car.

It never stops for old bikies. Just two weeks ago he was having a drink at his local when it started again.

"A bunch of Lebs sitting in two cars," he said, "and the 'big, bad bikie' thing came out. They got out of the cars. They were about 23, 24, and there was seven of them. I decked three and the other four didn't want nothing to do with it."

At a rough count Caesar, an underground fighter and the Bandidos' sergeant-at-arms, has had about 800 fights.

That works out to be about a fight every three weeks since he had his first at 14, when his father put him in a boxing tent.

In all that time nobody has ever dropped him to as much as a knee. He used to worry about losing. In his 40s he was sure it was near and in his 50s he was certain. But it still hasn't happened and he is content now, at 64, that if it does happen it will be because of his age and not because the other bloke is better.

"Unless, of course, it's another bloke in his 60s."

The fascinating part is that it keeps happening. Might it be because, nowadays, he looks more like an old bloke trying to look like a bikie, rather than the 24-carat real deal?

"They look and they see a 60-year-old bloke and they think he's not going to be much trouble," Caesar said. "And normally a 60-year-old bloke, to a 20 and 30-year-old, isn't going to be any trouble.

"But I've been hit with baseball bats, bricks, shot, stabbed, hit with a car ...

"I can take a thump and it doesn't affect me so much."

Years back he was in a pub toilet when a rival bikie told him some blokes in the carpark were loading his bike onto the back of their ute.

"Put the bike back down," he said when he found them. Soon after, two were unconscious and the third was groaning. Caesar then took

a boning knife he kept on his belt and sliced the little finger off each of them, then wrapped them in a handkerchief. When he got home he tossed the small package to Donna.

"Not more fingers," she said. He already had another 20 or so kept in a jar.

Not that he is always looking for a fight. Some years back he was in a pub when a bloke started in on him.

"You're built like a brick shithouse," he kept saying. "How big are you?"

It got to the point where Caesar stood up and walked to the pub next door. Shortly after the bloke was there, too.

"How big are you?" He got up again and began to walk out through the toilets, when the bloke grabbed him on his colours. "I thought, 'F ... why'd you have to do that?"


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