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SSC Newspaper : February 2014
12 Strathfield Scene FEBRUARY 2014 NEWS SPECIAL By Bernadette Chua A ccording to investigators and newspaper reports, Joseph Antoun, the Strathfield father shot dead in front of his twin six-year-old daughters, is a notorious crime figure, standover man and drug money launderer. His horrific slaying last December at the door of his Jersey Road home astonished Strathfield residents. It exposed a significant crime underbelly in a municipality better known for its large homes and private schools. The killing has now become part of a much wider investigation exposing the underbelly of crime in the construction industry, and includes one of the state’s most important developments, Barangaroo. And it isn’t over yet. According to detectives, more arrests are expected over the killing. If you believe Jim Byrnes, described as a “self-confessed bankruptcy guru” and friend of Alan Bond: “ You’ll need to hire an entertainment centre to interview people who had a motive to want Antoun out of the way.” But there is another side to Mr Antoun, a 50-year-old man with a large family and lots of friends. The Facebook account of his partner and the mother of his children, Teagan Mullens, tells this very different story. In the weeks after Mr Antoun’s brutal death, Ms Mullens uploaded an array of family photos. Responding to friends who commented on her gallery of pictures, Ms Mullens wrote: “I’m so glad I got the eight and a half years I spent with him. He made me the happiest I had ever been and I thank God that I was the lucky girl he chose to be with. “My poor babies were robbed of an amazing father and role model and that’s the hard part, because I could never attempt to fill those massive shoes of his. “I call them the triplets the three of them were so close.” The Facebook photos show a happy family: at christenings, dinners. And almost always with their twin daughters, Lilly and Layla. Their happy faces are a haunting reminder of what they witnessed. Perhaps the most memorable image of the night is of the girls outside their Jersey Road home, clutching their toys. The family was at home when Mr Antoun answered the door and was shot up to five times on December 17, just after 9:30pm. And when police and paramedics Loving father or violent criminal: who was the real Joe Antoun? arrived, they found the family weeping in the street in their pyjamas. Mr Antoun was pronounced dead at the scene. Intriguingly, Ms Mullens took her daughters to the Burwood Local Court hearing of the two men who have been charged with being involved in the killing. On January 21, police arrested and charged two men. Navid Khalili, 25, was charged at Silverwater Jail. He was already in prison for breaching his parole. Police allege he was the gunman. Officers also arrested Kasim Ali Khan, 24, who they allege was the driver of the getaway car. Reports that have circulated since, reveal Mr Antoun had a lengthy criminal history – he had repeated stints in jail dating back to the ’90s, which included serving sentences for armed robbery, theft and extortion. Court documents reveal Mr Antoun spent three years in jail in 1991 for theft charges and in 1992 was sentenced to another six years for known as a “standover” man in the construction industry. Police are investigating links to labour hire deals in Barangaroo, which also involve an Inner West company. It is believed he was in the middle of a bitter feud at the time of his death. Mr Byrnes also told The Daily Telegraph that Mr Antoun had many sides to his personality. “I first met Antoun in the company of an associate and others,” he said. “Although in shorts, running shoes and a long-sleeved T-shirt, he had a rather brutish appearance. “But he had a very polite manner and was courteous, respectful and polite. “Some months later when we disagreed on an agreed terms of a purchase, I began to understand that Antoun had two very different sides. Antoun could have a most intimidating demeanor when angry. “To say I felt uncomfortable would be an understatement.” Mr Antoun’s older brother, Nemer, told Fairfax Media there was no reason for his “barbaric death”. He denied his brother was a criminal and said he “helped more than he hurt”. He told The Sydney Morning Herald: “No one deserves to die that way. Not only did they destroy one family, they destroyed a few families by doing this. “Joseph was a family man, his kids meant more than anything to him. He had a dream, he wanted to bring them up in a beautiful country.” Joe Antoun’s partner Teagan Mullens and their twin daughters at Burwood Court. Insert and below, Facebook pictures reveal a devoted family man. three counts of armed robbery. He was released on parole but was imprisoned again in 2003 for demanding money with menace from a Darling Harbour club owner. Underworld sources have reportedly said Mr Antoun was My poor babies were robbed of an amazing father and role model. I could never attempt to fill those massive shoes.