A FORMER Launceston senior detective has spoken about the "ground rules" that he set Mark 'Chopper' Read when the notorious criminal returned to Tasmania after his release from an interstate prison.
Read, a murderer made famous by his autobiographical crime books and blockbuster movie, has terminal liver cancer and was placed in palliative care at the Royal Melbourne Hospital last week.
Former Detective Inspector John Warren said he first met Read in the Ravenswood home of Read's now deceased father, Keith.
Mr Warren said that Read was never a danger to the general community.
"I used to go and see Chopper's father at least once a week and have coffee with him, and I said to Keith that I wanted to meet up with Chopper and talk to him," Mr Warren said.
"I obviously wanted to meet him, thinking that if he's going to stay here I'll probably set a few ground rules.
"I didn't want him coming into Tasmania, particularly into Launceston, and causing lots of trouble.
"So I went up and had a couple of beers and we sort of got to know one another.
"He understood where I was coming from and assured me that there would be no trouble ... but of course, as you know, there was a bit of drama with him."
In 1992, Read was convicted of attempted murder for shooting a former bikie and friend Syd Collins in the stomach at Evandale.
Read has claimed that it was the last person he ever shot.
"I think Read is what he is, but quite frankly, I don't believe he was any real threat to the general public," Mr Warren said.
"But within criminal circles, there may have been a few who needed to be a bit wary of him.
"He is quite a comical character - you can understand why he would be the centre of attention wherever he went, because in his own way, he is a fairly charismatic sort of character."
Read's dangerous criminal classification was removed by a Supreme Court Judge in 1997, and the following year, he was released from Risdon Prison.
One former Tasmanian policeman who did not wish to be named said Read was ultimately a criminal.
Read has two sons, one from his first marriage and another from his current marriage.
His manager, Andrew Parisi, said that neither Read nor his family would be providing any information regarding his prognosis and "would appreciate privacy in these most difficult times".