When gang rapist Mohammed Skaf was reunited with his parents, brother and sister this week there was one family member who could be there to greet him.
If the Skafs’ neighbours were surprised to see television cameras set up outside their house on Wednesday, they should prepare for when big brother Bilal finally returns to the street.
While media have been camped outside the Skaf home at Greenacre capturing every move Mohammed makes outside, Bilal has at least 12 more years to serve in prison.
Mohammed is rightly reviled for his role in a string of rapes committed across south-western Sydney two decades ago but he is not even the most notorious member of his own family.
That dishonour belongs to Bilal, who led a gang of young Lebanese Australians on a spate of four pack rapes describe by his sentencing judge as ‘worse than murder’.
Pack rapist Mohammed Skaf was the leader of a gang who raped six women in four attacks in August and September 2000. While his brother and fellow gang member Mohammed has been released from prison, Bilal will not be eligible for parole until February 2033. Skaf is pictured with his former fiancée
From laughing during his trial to abusing his sentencing judge and drawing cartoons of his onetime fiancée being pack raped from his prison cell, Bilal Skaf has shown absolutely no contrition
Skaf’s mother Baria was barred from visiting all NSW jails in September 2002 after being caught on security video (pictured) trying to smuggle letters her son had written to his fiancée
Six girls and women aged 16 to 18 were lured to parks and public toilets in four attacks coordinated by mobile phone in August and September 2000.
One woman was raped at least 25 times by 14 gang members in a six-hour ordeal which ended with her being dumped at a train station after being hosed down.
She was called an ‘Aussie pig’, told by Mohammed Skaf ‘I’m going to f*** you Leb style’ and asked if ‘Leb c*** tasted better than Aussie c***’.
That woman would later tell 60 Minutes she thought she might die that night.
‘I just can’t believe they had no pity whatsoever,’ she told journalist Ray Martin. ‘They didn’t think of me as a person, they just thought of me as some thing, just rubbish or meat or something.’
‘There was a point when one of them held a gun to my head and that’s when I had to ask myself whether it was worth fighting and dying or… not fighting.
‘I knew that I had to live. I couldn’t stand the thought of my mum and everyone I love not knowing what had happened to me if I turned up dead that night.’
Mohammed Skaf was released on parole on Wednesday with strict conditions including electronic monitoring 24 hours a day. He is pictured walking out of Long Bay jail
Mohammed Skaf (right) was released on Wednesday from Long Bay jail. Bilal Skaf (left) will be eligible for parole in 2033. He is serving a minimum term of 28 years with a maximum of 31
Bilal Skaf was originally sentenced to 55 years in prison with a minimum of 40 years after being convicted of 21 counts of aggravated rape, assault and kidnapping. That sentence was reduced on appeal to a maximum term of 31 years and a 28-year non-parole period
In another attack a 16-year-old was pinned down on the ground and raped by 18-year-old Bilal while a dozen of his underlings stood around her laughing.
‘These men treated her much like wild animals treat prey they have just killed,’ New South Wales District Court judge Michael Finnane said of that outrage.
Nine of the gang were eventually jailed and now that 38-year-old Mohammed was granted strict parole after 21 years in prison all but Bilal have been released.
Mohammed has been making headlines this week but 40-year-old Bilal, who will not be released before 2033, is the Skaf most responsible for bringing the family name nationwide infamy.
From laughing during his trial to drawing cartoons of his onetime fiancée being pack raped from his prison cell, Bilal has shown absolutely no contrition.
Skaf, who was expelled from school aged 14 and had failed as a spray painter, had a teenage criminal record for minor offences including shoplifting.
He had spent time in his parents homeland of Lebanon and followed his father Mustapha into a job at State Rail before embarking on his pack rape spree.
Skaf was originally sentenced to 55 years in prison with a minimum of 40 years after being convicted of 21 counts of aggravated rape, assault and kidnapping.
That sentence was reduced on appeal to a maximum term of 31 years and a 28-year non-parole period.
Mohammed Skaf has been reunited with his mother, father, sister and younger brother after he was released on parole this week. The family home (pictured) is at Greenacre in Sydney’s south west
The Skaf family has lived on this quiet bottlebrush-lined street for the past two decades. Second eldest son Mohammed is now living there after spending 21 years in prison
Judge Finnane, who imposed the original record 55-year sentence, was clearly disgusted by the young man who stood before him.
‘What this trial showed was that he was the leader of the pack, a liar, a bully, a coward, callous and mean,’ he said in September 2002.
‘He is, in truth, a menace to any civilised society.’
Skaf was ‘the worst of all offenders’ and throughout his trials ‘conducted himself as if the proceedings were a joke’, showing absolutely no remorse for his actions.
His crimes, according to Judge Finnane, could be compared to ‘what you hear about or read about only in the context of wartime atrocities.’
Skaf had claimed any sex was consensual and forced the women he raped to give evidence about what he had done to them by pleading not guilty.
During hearings Skaf would summon court officers with a click of his fingers to fetch him water then crush the foam cups and sprinkle the broken pieces on the floor.
Skaf’s barrister could not submit his client had shown any contrition because his client insisted no psychological reports or character references be tendered before sentencing.
Mohammed Skaf has had the headlines this week but his 40-year-old brother Bilal is the Skaf most responsible for bringing the family name nationwide infamy. Bilal is pictured
Skaf’s crimes, according to NSW District Court judge Michael Finnane, could be compared to ‘what you hear about or read about only in the context of wartime atrocities’
Judge Finnane warned that when Skaf was eventually released, ‘everyone would want to watch out when he is because he will be just as menacing then as he is now.’
Then premier Bob Carr described the original 55-year term as ‘the sort of sentence the community expects’. Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen said Skaf’s crimes left an indelible stain on the psyche of the state’s citizens.
Skaf was caught drawing cartoons in which his former fiancée was raped and murdered
Skaf offered his own appraisal of Judge Finnane at his sentencing. ‘I’m innocent,’ he shouted. ‘I remain my innocence until the day I die, you c***.’
As he became one of the country’s most despised criminals Skaf retained the support of his parents and ‘heartbroken’ fiancée, who was hanging on for the result of an appeal.
‘I’m out here waiting for him,’ she said after Skaf was sentenced. ‘That’s holding him up. He has me and a life out here.
‘If we can get through this, we can get through anything – God willing.’
Behind bars Bilal became even more notorious. Corrective Services Commissioner Ron Woodham said of his new resident that Judge Finnane had ‘summed him up to a tee’.
‘He hasn’t changed despite our best efforts,’ Woodham said of Skaf’s first couple of years in custody.
Other inmates did not like Skaf and he was antagonistic towards his keepers. Within a month of his sentencing false rumours circulated his penis had been cut off and that he had been raped in prison.
Three prisoners at Long Bay were said to be planning to take blood from an HIV-positive inmate and inject it into him before his transfer to Goulburn’s Multi Purpose Unit.
Bilal Skaf was engaged when he was arrested over a spate of pack rapes committed in Sydney’s south western suburbs. His fiancée initially stood by him but broke off the relationship shortly after he was sentenced. The former couple is pictured
Three prisoners at Long Bay were said to be planning to take blood from an HIV-positive inmate and inject it into him before his transfer to Goulburn’s Multi Purpose Unit. Skaf is pictured outside the NSW Supreme Court in July 2006
When a stash of hardcore pornography was found in his cell there, Skaf was off to Supermax, also within the Goulburn complex.
While in the nation’s most secure jail he was accused of threatening to blow up ‘Australia and citizens’ if all Muslim prisoners in NSW were not released.
His mother Baria was barred from visiting the state’s jails in September 2002 after being caught on security video trying to smuggle letters her son had written to his fiancée.
The seven pages included sketches of Skaf’s cell and exercise yard and were considered a threat to prison security.
Reporter Paul Mullins spoke to Skaf in Supermax three months later and said he looked like ‘a frightened little boy’.
‘His eyes were red. He’d obviously been crying and he was complaining. He said, “I’ve been getting a lot of therapy from the guys in here. They’ve been giving me a hard time”.
‘He was upset that they banned his mother from visiting him. I said to him, “What is the worst part of being in the Supermax?” and he said it was the segregation, being isolated from everybody.’
Mohammed Skaf is pictured outside his family’s home at Greenacre on Friday. ‘You’ll be charged with trespassing,’ he shouted at waiting photographers when he arrived home
In December 2002 a letter attributed to Skaf and addressed to Woodham was found in an internal prison mailbox. It was laced with a white powder authorities believed was meant to simulate anthrax and read:
‘Don’t take this as a threat but if all muslims aren’t released by January 2003 Australia and citizens will be in danger of bombing.’
By New Year, Skaf was on suicide watch after officers found six sleeping pills and a broken mirror in his cell, which he had attempted to set alight.
He carved his fiancée’s name into his arms using a plastic knife, causing an infection. The relationship ended when she called it off in March 2003.
The rapist’s response was to make threatening phone calls and send hate-filled letters to the woman.
In July 2003 prison officers found five drawings in Skaf’s cell which showed scenes including the pack rape and murder of his former fiancée.
The Skaf family home is about 1.7km from Gosling Park (above) where one of the Skaf gang’s pack rapes occurred on August 12, 2000. Mohammed lured a 16-year-old girl to the park where Bilal and another gang member raped her while a dozen others stood around laughing
Mohammed Skaf (left) is seen trying to help lift a girl from the sand at Bondi while fellow rapist Tayyab Sheik (right) is seen leaning over another girl in police surveillance footage from October 2000
In perhaps the most disturbing cartoon one naked man said to another who was already raping the woman: ‘Hurry up, man, there’s 50 others waiting’.
In another, a soldier was firing an assault rifle at a prone woman, who had blood pouring from her wounds, as he said, ‘Ya slut’.
Mr Woodham said of the pictures: ‘I believe the drawings depict the way he thinks.’
‘It tells you the way he thinks about women. He’s learnt nothing since his trial and conviction. He hasn’t shown any remorse at all.’
The same month Skaf was accused of warning Supermax officers to be careful when they finished work as they could get shot leaving the prison.
Once back in the main Goulburn jail Skaf continued to protest his innocence and insult his victims as he was kept in a yard with other Lebanese prisoners.
‘They love me,’ he reportedly told officers. ‘I’m their hero, I’m famous. They love what I did to those Aussie scum.’
He might be infamous but Skaf is no one’s hero and the other inmates did not love him. In 2015 he was assaulted by three prisoners who inflicted facial injuries.
Skaf is currently in the maximum-security Lithgow jail and will be 51 when he is first eligible for release on February 11, 2033.
Skaf is currently in the maximum-security Lithgow jail and will be 51 when he is first eligible for release on February 11, 2033. He is pictured being taken from the NSW Supreme Court back to prison in July 2006
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