A floral arrangement placed nearby spelled out “Baba”, the Arabic word for father.
Among the mourners were one of Maghnie’s sons, Abbas Jr, and long-time associate Sam Shelby, who were both wounded by gunfire at the same time Maghnie lost his life.
Abbas Jr, also known as AJ, and his younger brother Ali both wore T-shirts emblazoned with “MNS”, the logo for the family company, Maghnie & Sons Logistics.
Police, who held concerns about a potential disturbance at the ceremony, were stationed in patrol cars in streets outside of the cemetery, which is hemmed in by the Western Ring Road.
No one has yet been arrested for Maghnie’s murder, and police are declining to comment on the progress of the investigation.
On Thursday, Maghnie was shot dead outside a house in Dalton Road, Epping, amid what appeared to be an escalating dispute over responsibility for a car accident involving a family member that happened days before.
Maghnie, AJ and Shelby were apparently unarmed, and the shooter was seen calmly walking away from the scene, uninjured.
It was a shocking but unsurprising end for a man with a well-earned reputation for a hair-trigger temper and dishing out extreme violence over both personal and business matters.
Underworld and police sources have described Maghnie as one of the toughest and most feared of the current generation of underworld figures, in no small part due to his unpredictably and extensive contacts in the city’s organised crime networks and the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang.
He was famous for driving himself to hospital after being shot in the face and chest in 2016, carrying a bullet in his neck to his grave.
At the time of his death, Maghnie was suspected of involvement in a string of unsolved shootings and no less than four murders, including the drive-by shooting at the Love Machine nightclub in April 2019 that killed two people.
Individuals linked to Maghnie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly opened fire indiscriminately at a crowd standing in front of the venue in what is believed to have been a revenge attack for being ejected from the club.
Maghnie’s recorded criminal history, which dates back to 1993, pales in comparison to what he has been suspected of by police: drug trafficking, weapons offences and the attempted murder of bikie Toby Mitchell in 2011.
But none of that mattered to his family and associates, who posted glowing social media tributes to Maghnie after news broke of his death.
“There are no words which can describe our pain for such a tragedy,” his sister Fay wrote, also quoting the Koran: “Indeed we belong to Allah. And indeed to him we shall return.”
Maghnie’s long-time solicitor, Rob Melasecca, also offered an epitaph to his “dear friend” on Facebook.
“I first met Billy when he was 10. He became my client. My nephew. My son. My loyal oh so loyal brother and most of all my dear friend. There will be a big hole in my life which I will try to fill with memories and love for you. And yes I agree … he was a good boy.”
Chris Vedelago is an investigations reporter for The Age with a special interest in crime and justice.
Erin covers crime for The Age. Most recently she was a police reporter at the Geelong Advertiser.