Family: He kept secret life from us
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).