Wild scenes at Burleigh Heads as onlookers help rate a local surfer and lifeguard rescue jetski lodged in rocks during a monster swell, ‘Hard day at the office! A few scratches!”
“The physical risk I took to continue surfing was a choice I made because I wasn’t financially able to stop my career.”
Surfing Olympian Owen Wright says in court the theft of nearly $1 million from his personal stash by a family friend employed as the family’s accountant led to his estrangement from Ma and Pa Wright as well as friction with his siblings and his pop star wife.
In a victim impact statement read in court before the sentencing of Horse racing enthusiast and poker machine enthusiast Shane Maree Hatton, who spent five years at the top with a three-year run without parole, Owen said he accused family members of theft and even told his wife, accomplished singer Kita Alexanderto lay off spending.
Owen said he was “emotionally drained”, couldn’t sleep, was perpetually upset and anxious. Accusing his parents of defrauding him had lasting ramifications.
“My relationships… are still damaged because of the anger issues I had about it,” he said.
And, because of the theft, he couldn’t get out of the professional surfing game despite his catastrophic brain injury in 2015.
“I wanted to retire but couldn’t financially (due to the impact of the offence) and struggled in my career risking my life in the process… I was robbed again as I could barely walk and while the doctors said I would never work again in my career The physical risk I took to continue surfing was a choice I made because financially I was not able to end my career.
Owen told the court he had been saving for a family home and trying to start a retirement fund, two businesses blocked by theft, although regular BeachGrit readers remember the $5.1million beach shack. dollars that O bought from Byron Bay three years ago, which he then developed four luxury villas, selling one for $6.5 million, including another he kept, the $1.6 million home in Lennox Head with its indoor pool that meandered through the living roomthe Federation-style house in Byron Bay (sold for just under a million), the townhouse by the sea in Thirroul (675,000) and the beautiful mountaintop hideaway (bought for 750k, sold for a million).
Everyone’s version of a happy retirement is different, I think.
Owen’s mother, Fiona, said she felt “somehow responsible” for the theft because she recommended Hatton handle the books.
“His stealing from us was a heartbreaking despicable act,” she said.