One of the few remaining members of a Melbourne underworld family joked to a judge “don’t hang me” before he was sentenced for his role in a crime.
A notorious underworld figure whose family inspired the film Animal Kingdom quipped “don’t hang me” to a judge before he was jailed.
Peter John Allen was sentenced to four years and one month after pleading guilty to aggravated burglary, theft and committing an indictable offence while on bail in the County Court of Victoria on Friday.
The 68-year-old is one of Kath Pettingill’s six sons and brother of the late Dennis Bruce Allen, a drug dealer and murderer nicknamed “Mr Death”.
The film Animal Kingdom is loosely based on the Pettingill family. Allen’s brothers Victor Peirce and Trevor Pettingill, were acquitted of the 1988 Walsh St police murders.
“Don’t hang me Your Honour,” Allen joked to the judge during the hearing.
“I’m not gonna hang you,” Judge Geoffrey Chettle replied.
Allen helped plot the aggravated burglary at the St Kilda apartment of a friend, who discussed writing the crime figure’s memoirs, the court was told.
But on the morning of November 2, 2018, Allen went to his victim’s home and helped sneak Anthony Besanko into the building.
While Allen was inside using drugs with the victim, he phoned Besanko who stormed in and demanded $200 for a drug debt, the court was told.
“He goes through a pantomime of ‘oh gosh what’s happening here’,” Judge Chettle said of Allen’s reaction.
“He was not the slightest bit shocked. He took the drugs and ran.”
Besanko bashed and tasered the victim, but Allen didn’t know his accomplice was armed with the weapon, his lawyer Amelia Beech told the court.
After the assault Allen grabbed heroin on a bookshelf and fled, the court was told.
“He’s complicit in it and did nothing to stop it and carried on in this ‘shock horror’ way,” the judge said.
The judge noted if he went through Allen’s criminal history he would be “here ‘til Christmas” but said he had priors for violence, rape, drug trafficking, blackmail, burglary and theft.
The court was told Allen had about 82 offences from 38 court appearances between 1970 and 2017.
But Allen’s lawyer said he had significant health issues, including emphysema, had no home and only limited contact with his family.
“He finds himself in a sad position ultimately,” Ms Beech told the court.
Allen’s childhood was marred with abuse at the hands of his alcoholic grandparents and he described his childhood as a “nightmare”, she said.
“You really had no chance other than to find yourself in the lifestyle you drifted into,” Judge Chettle said.
Allen must serve three years before he is eligible for parole and has already served 878 days behind bars.
His accomplice was sentenced last year to 4½ years in prison and must serve a minimum of three years before he is eligible for parole.