numberplate on the stretch limousine read
"Elaborate", which was apt as there was
nothing mundane about Troy Mercanti's first
day as a free man in more than two years.
Mercanti strode out of Casuarina Prison
yesterday, its carpark was a strange scene
populated by a group of scruffy bikies and a
nest of TV cameras, reporters and
photographers, many of whom had been waiting
in the cold since before 7am.
Police in an
unmarked car circled the prison, patrolling
local streets and interrogating anyone who
looked out of place in an effort to ensure
Mercanti's release did not coincide with a
gleaming Chrysler limousine cruised into
view, just as the man everyone had gathered
to see made his first appearance about 9am.
Cheater turned Finks bikie was warmly
greeted by a throng of his cohorts, who
tried to squeeze the life from him with
man-sized bear hugs.
Finks T-shirt emblazoned with the number 66
- code for Finks Forever - sandwiched
between the words "Attitude" and "Violence",
the noticeably slimmer Mercanti was
clutching a green suit bag and a small
cardboard box that likely contained the few
measly possessions prisoners are allowed.
little time in climbing into the waiting
limousine. In an overt show of strength, the
vehicle was shadowed by two cars bursting
with snarling Finks as it left.
assembled at the Finks Balga clubhouse and
outside Mercanti's Duncraig home. Locals
smiled knowingly when they saw the media.
"So he's out of prison, hey," one man
10am, the convoy pulled into Granadilla
Street and filled the wide driveway of
Mercanti's expansive and well-secured abode.
Unfazed by the
attention, Mercanti strolled into the home
he shares with partner Tammy Kingdon and
their two children. The media was left to
listen to the raucous laughter that rippled
from the rear of the home.
later, two Finks members left the house
before returning with a supply of beer. The
celebration continued for another 90 minutes
before Mercanti hopped into a four-wheel
drive with his mates while his family loaded
into another vehicle.
They gave a
one-fingered wave goodbye to the media and
drove about 5km to the Balga clubhouse - a
nondescript property that Kingdon bought
with $54,000 she stole from a Coffin
Cheaters trust fund set up for the daughters
of a slain member and a dead associate in
2008. She was in February given a suspended
two-year jail term for the theft. The
District Court was told at the time that
Kingdon planned to split with Mercanti and
leave Perth with her sons.
seemed unlikely, despite the court being
told that the couple had a stormy
relationship marred by physical and mental
abuse. Mercanti's mother Yvonne even
testified that she had once seen her son
knock out Kingdon's teeth.
sauntered out of the clubhouse, which could
become a focal point in a war between the
Finks and Coffin Cheaters, embraced Mercanti
before he went inside. He was soon back
outside kicking a footy with his kids.
It was the
first time all day that he had looked like
an ordinary father rather than a fearsome
female reporter who tried to move her car
found the battery was flat. With her
colleague unable to help, she turned to
Mercanti and asked if he had any jumper
leads. Obligingly, he went inside and
returned with half a dozen mates, one of
whom was clutching the necessary appliance.
jumpstarted her car, much to the amusement
of all who were present. "See, we're not all
that bad," one of the bikies quipped.
It was yet
another bizarre event in a day that was
anything but ordinary.