Diego Carbone: Sydney fight club members allegedly murdered man chasing $2000 debt

Two men linked to a secretive Sydney fight club with a “strict code of conduct” allegedly lured a man trying to recover a debt from a club member to a brutal death in an underground carpark, a court has been told.

Shocked witnesses watched as a mortally wounded Bradley Dillon, 25, stumbled onto the street and collapsed on his back near a Leichhardt shopping centre on August 11, 2014.

He died after being shot three times and stabbed four to five times, all from behind, after meeting with cousins Diego Carbone and Antonio “Tony” Bagnato.

Bradley Dillon was shot dead in front of horrified witnesses on Lord St, Leichhardt. Channel 9Camera IconBradley Dillon was shot dead in front of horrified witnesses on Lord St, Leichhardt. Channel 9 Credit: Channel 9

Mr Carbone, 30, has pleaded not guilty to Mr Dillon’s murder before a judge-alone trial in the NSW Supreme Court that began on Tuesday.

His barrister told the court that Mr Carbone did not deny being at the carpark, and admits to fighting with Mr Dillon, but claims Mr Bagnato unexpectedly shot the father of two.

The Russell Lea man is facing a retrial after previously being convicted of the alleged murder, but that ruling was quashed on appeal this year.

The court was told that Mr Bagnato had not been charged and was now imprisoned for unrelated crimes in Thailand, where he fled two days after Mr Dillon’s death.

The men were then former and current members of the St Michael Fight Club, which had a strict “code of silence” and where loyalty was paramount “especially against non-brothers”, the court was told.

The crown alleges Mr Carbone planned with his cousin to at least cause grievous bodily harm to Mr Dillon, who had been seeking to recoup $2000 his sister had loaned to her ex-boyfriend Adriano Riccio.

The court was told Mr Dillon had been trying to meet with Mr Riccio, another fight club member, for days and his wife and child had been threatened as he pursued the money.

Mr Dillon then turned to kickboxer Mr Bagnato, a senior fight club member, in the hope of sorting out the dispute.

After a chance meeting with Mr Carbone at a petrol station on August 11, the court was told he messaged a friend: “I just seen Diego. I gave my number for Tony to call me,” he wrote.

Crown prosecutor Michelle England said after receiving a text from a burner phone activated that day, Mr Dillon went into the carpark below Leichhardt Marketplace about 5.24pm.

CCTV footage had earlier tracked Mr Carbone and Mr Bagnato meeting and driving together in a blue Holden Astra later used as a getaway, the court was told.

Witnesses also described seeing a man in a green jersey with a distinctive number seven emblazoned on it running from the scene, an item Mr Carbone was captured wearing on CCTV.

Ms England said it was not known who stabbed or shot Mr Dillon but alleged Mr Carbone and Mr Bagnato had agreed to ambush him and cause serious harm.

Mark Tedeschi QC, representing Mr Carbone, said there was no dispute his client had been at the meeting or that Mr Dillon died as result of being shot in the carpark.

But Mr Tedeschi said the evidence pointed to a fight breaking out between Mr Dillon and Mr Carbone before “unexpectedly … Mr Bagnato came in and shot” Mr Dillon.

That was clear from a conversation Mr Carbone had with a friend shortly after the incident, he told the court.

“Some hectic sh-t went down. We f—ed this guy up,” Mr Carbone told his friend, according to Mr Tedeschi.

“We were in a fight with a guy from school. I was into it with this guy. Tones (Mr Bagnato) comes in and shot him.”

Mr Tedeschi said Mr Dillon “despised” Mr Riccio and had been enthusiastically trying to organise the meeting with Mr Bagnato.

He said Mr Dillon had been “incensed” at his sister, Cassie, loaning Mr Riccio money.

Detectives arrested Diego Carbone at Sydney International Airport. NSW PoliceCamera IconDetectives arrested Diego Carbone at Sydney International Airport. NSW Police Credit: Supplied

Witnesses heard loud voices coming from the carpark, with the most aggressive being an “Australian voice”, which the defence claims must have been Mr Dillon.

Mr Tedeschi said his client had been asked to leave St Michael Fight Club and was “very much a follower” of his cousin Mr Bagnato, who was a “leader”.

He said there was no evidence Mr Carbone knew about a gun and knife being present and the crown couldn’t prove he stabbed or shot Mr Dillon.

“The evidence strongly suggests Mr Bagnato inflicted the wounds,” the barrister said.

After twice scoping out Sydney Airport days after the incident, Mr Carbone was arrested trying to board a flight to Bangkok on August 29, 2014.

“Are you sure you’ve got the right guy?” he asked police, the court was told.

His trial continues.

News Gaffer