Pettingill family

The Pettingill family is a Melbourne-based criminal family,[1] headed by matriarch Kath Pettingill. Family members have many convictions for criminal offences including drug trafficking,[2] arms dealing[3] and armed robberies.[2]

Two of Kath Pettingill's sons, Victor Peirce and Trevor Pettingill, faced a murder trial for the 1988 Walsh Street police shootings, with both acquitted along with two fellow defendants. Victor Peirce's de facto wife, Wendy, later claimed that her husband planned and carried out the murders with the fellow accused.[2] The family was furthermore involved in the infamous Melbourne gangland killings, where it suffered a major blow, with the death of one of its highest-ranking members, Victor Peirce, and resulting in its power being greatly weakened.

Family membersEdit

Kath Pettingill
Other namesGranny Evil
OccupationBrothel owner
Conviction(s)Drug trafficking

Kath PettingillEdit

Dennis AllenEdit

Dennis Allen
Born7 November 1951
Died13 April 1987(1987-04-13) (aged 35)
Other namesMr. Death, Mr. D
Criminal statusDied of heart failure
Parent(s)Kath Pettingill
Criminal penalty10 years imprisonment

Dennis Allen (nicknamed Mr. Death or Mr. D) was the oldest son of Kath Pettingill. Allen was sentenced during the 1970s to a ten-year prison sentence for rape and was reported to have been a major player in drug dealing in the Richmond and South Yarra areas during the 1980s.[4]

Allen was alleged to have ordered the deaths, or committed the murders himself, of 15 people.[4] Allen died of heart failure in 1987 while in prison custody awaiting trial for murder.[5]

Police officer Roger Rogerson received his first criminal conviction in 1985 for involvement in drug trafficking when he was charged with conspiring with Allen to import heroin.[6]

Peter AllenEdit

Peter Allen
Born (1953-01-25) 25 January 1953 (age 67)
Criminal statusStill alive
Parent(s)Kath Pettingill
Conviction(s)Armed robbery, assault, drug dealing, drug trafficking

Peter Allen is the second oldest son of Kath Pettingill. He has spent 28 years in prison. He is a violent armed robber and has a long list of assault charges. He ran a heroin empire which allowed him to purchase a mansion in Lower Templestowe. This was later taken from him due to the Proceeds of Crime act. He continued to deal heroin in jail.

He is very skilled in court and is the jailhouse lawyer of the family. He was released from prison in 2002 after serving time for an armed robbery conviction.[3]

Vicki Brooks (nee Pettingill)Edit

First born daughter and third child of Kath Pettingill. Born in 1954. Later turned against the family and gave evidence for the prosecution at the Walsh Street trial. She went into witness protection.[2]

Jason RyanEdit

Victor Peirce's nephew and son of Vicki Brooks (née Pettingill). Star prosecution witness who turned against the family and gave evidence over Walsh Street.[2] Ryan has battled drug addiction for years.[2]

Victor PeirceEdit

Victor Peirce
Born(1958-11-11)11 November 1958
Died1 May 2002(2002-05-01) (aged 44)
OccupationWaterside worker
Criminal statusMurdered
Spouse(s)Wendy Peirce
Children4 (Christopher Peirce born on 1976, Victor Peirce Jnr born on 1978, Katie Peirce born on 1985–2009 and Vinnie Peirce born on 1992)
Parent(s)Kath Pettingill
Conviction(s)Drug trafficking
Criminal penalty6 years imprisonment

Victor George Peirce was the sixth child of Kath Pettingill. Together with his de facto partner, Wendy Peirce, he fathered four children. He was convicted for drug trafficking and served a six-year prison sentence during the 1990s.[7] He once worked as a bodyguard for murdered businessman Frank Benvenuto.[7]

Victor Peirce was murdered in Bay St, Port Melbourne, whilst parked outside a supermarket on 1 May 2002.[3] It would later be alleged in court by barrister and Queen's Counsel Robert Richter that the now-deceased contract killer Andrew Veniamin had murdered Peirce.[8] Veniamin was shot and killed during an argument in 2004 with Mick Gatto in a Carlton restaurant.

Wendy PeirceEdit

Wendy Peirce was the de facto partner of Victor Peirce. The couple never married but produced four children from their long term relationship.

She entered witness protection for 18 months, estimated to have cost approximately $2million. At trial, she refused to give evidence against the accused and all men were later acquitted. In October 2005, Wendy Peirce gave a media interview detailing how her husband planned and carried out the Walsh Street police shootings [9] for which he was charged and later acquitted.

In September 2008 Wendy Peirce was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to threatening and stalking former lovers of her ex-partner Victor who was murdered in 2002 during Melbourne's underworld war. The threats included using Facebook to make death threats.[10]

Katie PeirceEdit

On 15 December 2009, Wendy and Victor Peirce's 24-year-old daughter, Katie Peirce, was found dead in her home in Greensborough . .[11] At the time of her death, she and her mother were on bail for an incident at the Clare Castle Hotel in Port Melbourne on 28 March 2009, when Mark Lohse, a regular patron at the hotel, was attacked with a meat cleaver and left seriously injured with a deep and long gash across his face, three fractures to his jaw, broken teeth and facial nerve damage.[12] Police allege that Wendy and Katie Peirce and a third woman agreed to pay Tong Yang A$200 to assault Robert Sales, the father of a woman who was dating Katie Peirce's ex-boyfriend.[13] Sales had been sitting one table away from where the assault occurred but was outside having a cigarette at the time of the assault,[14] and in a case of mistaken identity Mark Lohse was hacked across the face with the meat cleaver. Senior County Court judge Geoff Chettle said at the plea hearing the incident was "the worst example of intentionally causing serious injury he has seen."[15] Tong Yang pleaded guilty to charges of intentionally causing serious injury, but Katie and Wendy Peirce both pleaded not guilty to charges that included attempted murder and intentionally causing serious injury. Katie was bailed pending a committal hearing which had only been partly heard at the time of her death.[16] Wendy Peirce's lawyer said he had spoken to her on the phone on 15 December 2009 to inform her of her daughter's death and would apply to the prison for permission allowing her to attend the funeral.[17]

Lex PeirceEdit

Lex Peirce (born 1960) is the seventh child and fifth son of Kath Pettingill and has a minor criminal record.[2]

Jamie PettingillEdit

Ninth child of Kath Pettingill. Born 1963. Died of a heroin overdose in 1985 aged 21.[3] Was alleged to have been involved in an armed robbery in Clifton Hill.[2]

Trevor PettingilEdit

Trevor Pettingill is the tenth and last child of Kath Pettingill, born in 1965. He has a history involving drugs and burglaries.[2] He has multiple convictions for firearms and drug-related offences, and has served several jail terms.[18] He has been described as a "career criminal".[18]

Pettingill was charged and acquitted over the Walsh Street police murders.

Trevor's son Jamie Pettingill had two criminal convictions including one for assault.[18][19]

In popular cultureEdit

Members of the family, their associates and real life exploits, have been depicted in multiple media works.

These include television docudramas like the series Underbelly and the 2009 miniseries Killing Time, and fictionalised versions of family members, which have been the basis for key characters in:

The Pettingill's were also featured in the fourth episode of season one of the Netflix original Drug Lords.


  1. ^ Fears of gangland war in Melbourne, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 23 June 2003
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Coming clean, The Age, 1 October 2005
  3. ^ a b c d Crime world loses one of its finest, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 May 2002
  4. ^ a b Shand, Adam (24 February 2004). "Cast of characters; The main Melbourne crime factions and their most prominent members". The Bulletin. 122 (8).
  5. ^ Munroe, Ian. Butcher, Steve (3 May 2002). "Brace for more gangland shootings, police warn". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 2 July 2010.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Jolly Rogerson, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 2003
  7. ^ a b Victor Peirce dies the way his mother predicted, The Age, 3 May 2002
  8. ^ Andrew Veniamin shot dead Victor Peirce, court told, Herald Sun, 11 March 2008
  9. ^ Why I lied to protect the Walsh Street killers, The Age, 1 October 2005
  10. ^ Nolan, Kellee (15 September 2008). "Wendy Peirce sentenced to six months". Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  11. ^ Butcher, Steve (15 December 2009). "Gangland daughter Katie Peirce found dead". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  12. ^ Andrerson, Paul (27 May 2009). "Daughter of gangland widow Wendy Peirce in bitter love feud". Herald Sun. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  13. ^ Anderson, Paul (30 June 2009). "Tong Yang pleads guilty over meat cleaver attack on Mark Lohse". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  14. ^ AAP (10 November 2009). "Smoke saved me from meat cleaver". Herald Sun. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  15. ^ Butler, Mark (15 December 2009). "Katie Peirce, daughter of hitman Victor Peirce found dead at home of suspected drug overdose". Herald Sun. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  16. ^ Iaria, Melissa (15 December 2009). "Gangland widow's daughter dies". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  17. ^ Butler, Mark (15 December 2009). "Katie Peirce, daughter of Wendy Peirce and hitman Victor Peirce, found dead at home after suspected drug overdose". Herald Sun. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  18. ^ a b c "Melbourne crime figure's son guilty". Ninemsn. 20 May 2010. Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  19. ^ "Melbourne crime figure's son Jamie Pettingill guilty over assault". News Limited. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010.