Underworld enforcer Nabil Maghnie had been living the high life on borrowed time in the years before his bloody demise on Thursday night.
His violent death on the streets of suburban Melbourne has surprised few who knew the 44-year old, who self-proclaimed himself ‘The Mad Leb’.
The exact circumstances surrounding the shooting are yet to be determined but investigators have little doubt Maghnie would have known his killers.
Nabil Maghnie has been shot dead after an incident in Epping in northern Melbourne
A black ute is towed away at the scene of Nabil Maghnie’s execution in Epping on Friday
Blind Freddy could have told you Maghnie had been living on the edge.
Maghnie infamously drove himself to hospital after being shot in the head in 2016.
In 2011, the married father was the victim of another non-fatal shooting at Broadmeadows.
He was being investigated by police over a double shooting at the Love Machine nightclub in Prahan in April last year and was prime suspect in an attempted hit on notorious Mongol’s bikie Toby Mitchell.
Maghnie was also on bail for serious driving offences at the time of his death after crashing his Range Rover at more than 200km/h while high on booze and cocaine last year.
Ironically, had Maghnie not been granted bail, he might well still be alive today.
The charismatic criminal seemed to have a knack at convincing judges and magistrates’ that his risk to the community could be contained. ‘
He had received bail time and time again over his long criminal career.
But in the weeks before his death, anyone unlucky enough to be in Maghnie’s company had began to feel uncomfortable.
If Maghnie feared for his own life, he certainly didn’t outwardly show it.
Days before Christmas he was spotted on the main drag of Heidelberg just a stone’s throw from the local police station.
The hulking Maghnie stood out like a sore thumb on the street as he loudly discussed how the cops ‘had no case’ and that whoever it was he was talking about – likely himself – was ‘going to walk’.
He jumped into a brand new Mercedes C200 and took off.
That he was driving at all at that stage in his life was questionable given the driving allegations against him.
Nabil Maghnie wanted people to know he was a suspect in the shooting of feared bikie enforcer Toby Mitchell
Killer Gavin Prestobn took Nabil Maghnie under his wing and showed him the criminal ropes that ultimately led to his demise
But Maghnie never had much regard for the law.
He was fiercely loyal to family and his friends and absolutely loathed police and anyone who would help them.
Daily Mail Australia has been told in the months before his death, he had been trying to expose a ‘rat’ who had been close to former crime boss Carl Williams.
Born in the 70s, Maghnie came from a broken family and was institutionalised as a child.
Living under the eye of the state in those days was particularly tough, and Maghnie found positive male influences in the darkest of places.
It was under state care he met his mentor, his best mate and a bloke he would later revere as a father figure.
Gavin Preston has been in and out of prison most of his adult life and has convictions for shocking violence offences stretching back to 1991.
In 2015, Preston beat a murder charge — and a possible life sentence — by pleading guilty to the lesser offence of defensive homicide over the 2012 killing of drug dealer Adam Khoury.
Preston was also once best mates with feared Prisoner of War ‘general’ Matthew Johnson, who murdered Melbourne gangster Carl Williams inside jail in 2010, until they fell out over a jail house spat.
Maghnie would fiercely defend Preston whenever newspaper reports featuring his mate were published.
Former Herald Sun crime reporter Padraic Murphy told Daily Mail Australia Maghnie once bailed him up after he wrote a story suggesting Preston was in protective custody.
Maghnie (pictured) was pronounced dead at the scene, while two others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds
Forensic police attend the scene of Maghnie’s shooting death in Epping in northern Melbourne
‘He was anxious readers might get the wrong idea that Gav was in protection because he was a rat. I wisely adjusted the copy to say he was in isolation,’ he said.
Murphy, a Walkley Award winning journalist, said although Maghnie had a healthy contempt for reporters, he appeared to trust him.
‘He once offered me a bag of cocaine while we were smack bang in the middle of the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court,’ he said. ‘I declined his offer.’
Maghnie was no stranger to the court building.
He had been in and out of it since he was a teenager.
At the time of his death, Maghnie’s rap sheet spanned three computer screens and contained 34 entries.
His first stint in an adult prison dated back to 1995 when he was jailed for four months over a wild brawl that saw him convicted of a swag of charges including assault, behaving in a riotous manner and driving dangerously.
With the help of barrister Rob Malasecca, Maghnie probably got off lightly.
It would be a relationship that lasted all the way up to Maghnie’s death.
Maghnie leaving Melbourne Magistrates Court in July after being granted bail following a dramatic car crash while under the influence of drugs and alcohol in 2019
Nabil Maghnie had close links to feared prison gang Prisoners Of War, which is headed by Carl Williams’ killer Matthew Johnson (pictured)
Carl Williams reads a copy of the newspaper in jail as Matthew Johnson prepares to beat his brains in
On release, Maghnie almost wound up right back where he started after being convicted of another brutal assault.
This time he copped eight months behind bars, but was able to serve it in the community with a corrections order.
It wouldn’t be long before Maghnie was back in jail.
In 2000, he was jailed for three months after being convicted of making threats to kill, reckless conduct endangering life and firearm offences.
While Maghnie managed to mostly remain out of jail in the years that followed, he continued to appear in court over driving offences and assaults – usually directed at police.
Sources have told Daily Mail Australia that in his later years, drugs had consumed Maghnie and that he was high most days.
In 2016, he was convicted of drug offences, but walked with a fine.
He spent most of 2018 behind bars after being convicted of a nasty car crash, which saw him assault a police officer.
He had been free on bail, was unlicensed, carrying drugs and a weapon.
By May last year, his life was out of control.
Juiced-up to his eyeballs on cocaine, he hit a roundabout north of Melbourne, became airborne, struck another car and then careened into a paddock.
Maghnie collapsed at the scene and was taken to hospital, where a cocktail of drugs was found in his system.
Nabil Maghnie was a fan of Melbourne’s Meat & Wine Co on Southbank
In September he was granted bail after indicating to the court that he planned to plead guilty to the charges.
He was cut loose so he could attend drug rehab.
Daily Mail Australia has been told by those close to Maghnie that despite his feared reputation, he was a much loved and loyal family man.
One of his own son’s was wounded in the attack that claimed Maghnie’s life.
Maghnie’s son returned to the scene of the shooting on Thursday night along with dozens of friends and relatives.
He had been taken to hospital with a gunshot wound to his leg.
But he later returned to the scene to be with his family.
He was photographed at Dalton Rd in a hospital gown with blood leaking from a wound on his leg.
Maghnie’s son, Jacob Elliott, is on remand after being charged with the Love Machine killings.
Maghnie’s daughter and a man believed to be his son were allegedly ejected from Love Machine before a fatal double shooting outside the nightclub in April.
Maghnie had a long list of enemies, including members of various outlaw motorcycle gangs, powerful Middle-Eastern crime figures and victims of his erratic and violent nature.
He was known to get about town with a minder, who was likely caught up in Thursday’s shooting.
But he was never very hard to find.
Maghnie had become a regular at Melbourne’s Meat & Wine Co on Southbank along the Yarra River and was often seen enjoying a meal there.
Day-to-day, he would pass himself off as your honest, ordinary local builder.
Former journalist ‘Paddy’ Murphy pondered whether he might of had a death wish.
‘He demanded I report that he was a suspect in Toby Mitchell’s attempted murder. He wanted it to be known. He was proud of it,’ he said.
Victoria Police detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances around the shooting.