Mr. Read’s record included holdups, stabbings, shootings and a 1978 kidnapping attempt, in which he jammed a sawed-off shotgun into a judge’s mouth and demanded the release of a friend in prison. He was incarcerated for 23 of his first 40 years and released for the last time in 1998.
Then there were the crimes Mr. Read claimed he committed but got away with.
In his first book, “Chopper: From the Inside,” a memoir published in 1991 with the help of two Australian journalists, Mr. Read described himself as “a human disposal expert” who killed 19 fellow criminals, and tortured uncounted others with his signature tool, bolt cutters, applying it to victims’ toes one at a time until his demands were met.
Was Mr. Read ever repentant? Not exactly:
A believer in God, Mr. Read was asked in an interview what he expected would happen when he finally met his maker. “I think, if anything, I’m owed an apology,” he said. “I don’t think he was very fair with me.”