Fam­ily: He kept se­cret life from us

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - NIGEL HUNT

EDDY and Romy Young don’t want peo­ple to re­mem­ber their son, Ben, for the way he died.

The for­mer Finks bikie gang mem­ber was shot dead af­ter be­ing am­bushed in the drive­way of his Payne­ham South home in the early hours of Au­gust 26, 2008.

While the 26-year-old em­braced the vi­o­lent bikie cul­ture for sev­eral years be­fore his ex­e­cu­tion, Mr and Mrs Young say it was only a small part of his life. They re­mem­ber him as a lov­ing per­son who had a strong work ethic and a de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed.

Mr Young, 61, said al­though his son had fallen in with “the wrong crowd’’ af­ter com­plet­ing school, the lat­ter years of his life were not a true re­flec­tion of his char­ac­ter.

“He al­ways helped the fam­ily; he had a tremen­dous work ethic,’’ Mr Young said. “He or­gan­ised his own work ex­pe­ri­ence as a chef, then got his ap­pren­tice­ship ... he was al­ways telling my wife how to cook.”

Mr Young said he last saw Ben two days be­fore he was killed and he was “his usual self’’. Al­though Ben had left the Finks – ap­par­ently on am­i­ca­ble terms – six months ear­lier, Ma­jor Crime de­tec­tives be­lieve it is likely he was killed be­cause of his for­mer life­style.

He had con­vic­tions for drug cul­ti­va­tion, was in­volved in broth­els, prop­erty deals and horse rac­ing, and had an in­ter­est in a pop­u­lar North Ade­laide cafe with other crime fig­ures.

“He loved cook­ing and he loved eat­ing food as well. He got that from me and my mum,” Mrs Young, 57, said.

“He would go on hol­i­days and he would be in the kitchen cook­ing with his nana. If there was some­thing he wanted he would al­ways work to­wards it.

“The work ethic was al­ways with him.’’

Mrs Young said Ben was a nor­mal teenager who al­ways had a pet dog and loved play­ing base­ball and football. He im­mersed him­self in be­com­ing a chef and, later, a lock­smith.

Al­though he would re­turn home for din­ner with his par­ents once a week, Mrs Young said her son “hid things very well’’ and, like her hus­band, she had no inkling of Ben’s life­style.

“I didn’t re­alise what he was into un­til af­ter his death. It took quite a while for me to ac­cept it. It was not the Ben that I knew,’’ she said.

“Maybe a mother is blind to it, I don’t know. He was just a nor­mal son to me.’’

Ben’s younger brother, Tim, said the pair be­came “best friends’’ through high school and they saw each other ev­ery day un­til Ben’s death.

“He was al­ways there if I needed some­thing or I needed his help. Al­though I knew who some of his friends were, he never in­volved me, he kept me away from all of it,” Tim said.

On the night he was killed, Ben had been at home with his girl­friend un­til about 10.45pm and had then vis­ited an as­so­ci­ate at The­bar­ton.

He left about 12.15am and planned to meet an as­so­ci­ate from in­ter­state, but it is not known whether that hap­pened. He re­turned home at 1.30am.

Po­lice be­lieve Mr Young was tar­geted, with his killer wait­ing for him to ar­rive at his Luhrs Rd home and then open­ing fire at close range as he walked to the front door.

De­tec­tive Brevet Sergeant Jodie O’Brien, of Ma­jor Crime, said there was no clear sus­pect in the case, say­ing po­lice had en­coun­tered the tra­di­tional code of si­lence from Ben’s for­mer as­so­ciates.

“It does make things very dif­fi­cult. His friends and as­so­ciates are re­luc­tant to talk to po­lice,’’ Det Brevet Sgt O’Brien said.

“We can­not dis­count it is not bikie-re­lated, even though he had left the gang six months ear­lier. But we have an open mind as to other al­ter­na­tives be­cause of his life­style and busi­ness in­ter­ests.’’

Po­lice do not be­lieve rob­bery was a mo­tive. Ben had a sig­nif­i­cant amount of cash in his pos­ses­sion at the time of his death.

In March, 2006, he was stabbed twice in the in­fa­mous “ball­room blitz’’ bikie brawl be­tween the Finks and Hells An­gels at a kick­box­ing tour­na­ment on the Gold Coast.

“This has been looked at as a mo­tive in case there was any ret­ri­bu­tion but noth­ing has come from that,’’ Det Brevet Sgt O’Brien said.

A $200,000 re­ward is avail­able for any­one who pro­vides in­for­ma­tion that leads to a break­through in the mur­der.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion should con­tact Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

EX­E­CUTED: Ben Young’s fam­ily say he loved cook­ing and had a de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed (main); a man – be­lieved to be Young – is stabbed dur­ing a brawl on the Gold Coast (top left); and po­lice in the drive­way of his Payne­ham South home where he was shot dead (left).

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