(Image via facebook.com/underbelly)

'Underbelly Files: Chopper' is sensationalised to the point of almost pure fiction, says his widow, Margaret Read, to the extent it is destructive to her and her son.

MY NAME is Margaret Read, my late husband was Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read and has been in the spotlight for over 30 years, known for his crimes and for serving a lot of prison time. He was also the author of the Chopper books and became a household name after the movie Chopper was made. In his later years he became a public speaker, an artist and toured Australia for six years, speaking to sold out venues.

Many adored him and many didn’t — I get that bit! What I don’t get is that television, the entertainment industry and the paper giants continue to use and rehash his life. This has now escalated to another level, that I do not even quite understand or like, as it is done with continued ridicule and exaggeration in a way Mark would not have wanted nor do I want to see. My son Roy certainly doesn’t deserve this. He only knew his father as a very loving doting dad, totally removed from the violent world in which he once lived.

Underbelly Files: Chopper is sensationalised to the point of almost pure fiction, and has been embellished for both the viewer and for the TV giants in want of ratings and to fulfil their big pay day at the expense of my family.

When does creative licence stop before it becomes destructive licence to both my son Roy and myself? The mainstream media have turned “Chopper” and his family into a commodity, along with every other greedy person who has wanted to use his image for financial gain.

Dramatisations of people’s lives are not a joke — people’s lives do get affected, as mine and Roy’s have been. It isn’t up to the producers or directors to decide what is true or untrue about Mark “Chopper” Read. It’s been four years since Marks passing; I certainly didn’t need or want another exploit of Mark’s life, with the extent of including my life with Mark, as I have always avoided public notoriety. I did not give consent to the Underbelly TV series franchise to make another story that has once again embellished Mark’s crimes for the purpose of a TV series.

Using drama as an excuse for promoting absolute lies and what could have been shows nothing but contempt for my family and the public. After show aired last month, many will have come to know us. I am sick and tired of the perception TV brings to the viewer. I am sick and tired of the hard hitting embellished stories of my late husband that TV series' relish in introducing.

I am also sick and tired of journalists that seem happy to report on what has been made up and treated as fact, believing they know everything about Mark Read and his family when they don’t. A recent book by journalist Adam Shand, titled The Real Chopper is one I believe was full of fiction and very damaging false allegations.

Personal photos and footage of a young Mark Read in Jika Jika were used in a documentary by Channel Nine titled CHOPPER In His Own Words that was aired on 9now on 9 February and on the Channel 9 TV network on 12 February 2018. All images, police interview and the Jika Jika footage all belong to the Mark Read Estate, no rights have been given to Channel 9 or any other producer to reproduce, distribute and or display the protected work and or make further derivative works without requesting permission. This copyright infringement has been totally ignored by the Nine network as they proceeded to screen the content without obtaining clearances to use this content in this documentary.


During Mark’s last 12 months, he tirelessly worked on a little project, which is owned by me (Margaret Read) to give to my son Roy. The project included interviews and footage of his mates, work colleagues and family. This was the last footage of Mark, along with many photos taken at Pentridge Prison with his family, to be savoured as memories for our son Roy.

Mark never got to finish his project or see any of it, neither have I or Roy as Mark’s agent Andrew Parisi was at the time employed by us helped with the filming and the photography, along with his partner, Simone Ubuldi. They have taken this footage. Mark never gave this material to the agent, it was not his project or property. As Mark’s last dying wish, Andrew Parisi had promised Mark that he would help him to make sure both Roy and I had something special to remember him by.

Mark’s last live show was also filmed only because Mark wanted me to have his last public interview. Again, Andrew Parisi took full ownership of this and claimed the master tapes as his own. The agent also had Mark’s funeral filmed, of which he had promised to give me this footage. He has refused to hand back the material, claiming it is his. This act of betrayal has shattered me and Roy. He has no right to this footage. He does not own this footage – this is footage of my family, which includes images of my young son Roy with his beautiful dad – belongs to me, not Mark's former agent or anyone else laying claim to it.

Andrew Parisi is just like everyone else who just wanted a piece of Mark so that they could make money. He has claimed this footage and family photographs without any authority or permission and he has no intentions of returning them. This is the story that needs to be told. These are the real facts that need to be brought to the surface.

It is high time the media stopped rehashing Mark Read’s past and portraying it as something in the present. Mark turned his life around and made a great go of it; he established himself as a author, painter and public speaker, well beyond anyone’s expectations. These facts should be recognised.

The claims made in this article are supported by a signed affidavit. Margaret Read is currently writing a book about her time with Mark "Chopper" Read, which she hopes to publish later this year. You can follow Margaret on Twitter @CassarRead.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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