How hitman's daughter saved mum’s life
SIX-THOUSAND people follow Dhakota Williams on Instagram.
Most of those people are strangers to the 17-year-old gangland heiress fascinated by her family's links to one of Australia's bloodiest and most brutal street wars.
The teenage daughter of the late Carl Williams knows she can't escape the spotlight or the spectre of the family name. Perhaps naively, she believes most of the people who watch her grow up online are there because of her, and not her family.
"I think people like me for me," she tells 60 Minutes on Sunday night. "I don't really let people in that easily."
But her mum knows that's not entirely true.
"That reputation surrounds her doesn't it?" host Liam Bartlett asks Roberta Williams.
"It interests people, yeah, it does," Roberta admits.
Asked if she can escape it, Roberts replies simply: "No."
Dhakota continues to try. She ignores the headlines about her family and refuses to talk - even to her own mother - about their criminal past and the prison execution of her doting dad.
"When things come up in the news, things like that, sometimes it's a bit annoying if it's not good, it just makes us, me, look bad," she says.
She doesn't want to be somebody different, though.
"I'm happy with who my family are," she says. "I'm not saying it's good. None of it's good. But it just makes me different. It makes me who I am."
Carl Williams ordered the gangland murders of three men before being jailed for 35 years and targeted in a bloody execution.
He was a violent man who once shot at his own wife while she was pregnant with Dhakota.
"Yeah, he did, but ... I don't think he was aiming to kill me," Robert told 60 Minutes.
"I think he was trying to scare me."
Dhakota says it's easy to separate the man she remembers from prison visits and the man the rest of the country knows.
"I just don't really focus on the other side that most people see," she says. "I don't think I could see him any different."
Like most teenagers, Dhakota Williams’s Instagram profile shows a confident, young woman. But for all the sultry Insta-girl she portrays to her 6,000 followers, there’s much more to her than that. #60Mins. pic.twitter.com/eMFVV9Lc0x— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) 8 July 2018
Dhakota herself was almost the victim of her father's sins. Before Andrew "Benji" Veniamin became her "uncle" and close ally of Carl's, he was ordered to carry out a hit on Roberta Williams.
Hiding in the roof of the family's home, he was about to follow through with the murder when he heard Dhakota being soothed by Roberta.
"She woke up for her feed, and I fed her and I was comforting her and rocking her to sleep," Roberta said.
"Andrew told me later that he heard me comforting my daughter and he just couldn't bring himself to do that. Dhakota saved me."
As hard as Dhakota tries, she keeps getting dragged into her late father's affairs. Last month, her name was raised in the Victorian Supreme Court where she is fighting to hold on to a $1 million estate bequeathed to her.
The Essendon home is part of a claim by the Australian Taxation Office which wants the property in place of debt owed by the Williams family.
Justice Joanne Cameron has reserved her decision.
In the meantime, Dhakota continues to grow up in the public eye. She wants to be a lawyer and "a good person", but she also believes her dad was good.
Asked whether Carl could be "good" and a "killer", she pauses.
"I try to just put that all aside just think of him as my dad. He was a good person to me. I don't really think about the rest of it."
Visit the 60 Minutes website for more details.