Bikie’s big fear before his execution
Ever since Shane Bowden was released from a Melbourne prison in June, the notorious bikie knew he had a target on his back.
Bowden was shot dead on the Gold Coast on Sunday night after spending months on edge and in fear of his life.
When the 47-year-old fled Melbourne in August, his ex-girlfriend told The Herald-Sun Bowden "didn't want to be in Victoria anymore".
"He checked out of hospital because he was very scared, he was worried people were watching him all the time," his ex Trudi McPhee told the publication.
Bowden spent the better part of his adult life in jail after an injury in his youth brought his cycling career, that once saw him as a hopeful for the 1996 Olympics, to a crashing halt.
After quitting cycling, Bowden directed his energy into the gym and bodybuilding, where he met and connected with members of an outlaw motorcycle gang.
At one of his many court appearances, a lawyer for Bowden revealed both his parents were 12 when he was born.
He was adopted into a family with older siblings, with his lawyer telling the court Bowden had never felt like he belonged anywhere.
Bowden was previously part of the Finks "terror team", a group that notoriously went to war with rival gang Hells Angels in March 2006 at the Royal Pines Resort ballroom.
In 2008, Bowden was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail for his involvement in the brutal altercation.
Bowden was responsible for shooting fellow bikie Christopher Hudson, who is serving 35 years in jail for murder, in front of 1800 spectators.
The melee also caused more than $10,000 worth of damage and left three men stabbed and three men shot.
Bowden spent the next few years in and out of trouble with police before he was slapped with another hefty sentence in November 2015.
The bikie was sentenced to five years in jail after he was convicted of a violent armed robbery with his then-girlfriend and Hollywood trainer to the stars Aysen Unlu.
During his sentencing, the court heard Bowden, then the enforcer for the Mongols bikie gang, had stormed a Melbourne home in January 2015 in camouflage gear and night vision goggles.
Armed with a knife and crowbar, he and Unlu robbed a man of hundreds of dollars believed to be owed to Unlu for escort services.
A woman in the home managed to flee and alert police to the brutal attack where officers spotted the couple hiding nearby and arrested them.
But if that wasn't enough to secure their arrest, Unlu's car was also still sitting in the driveway of the home where the robbery took place - with the personalised number plate AYSEN.
In June this year, Bowden left prison a free man - but it was clear his clean slate wasn't going to stay that way for long.
As Bowden walked from Victoria's Loddon Prison, the 47-year-old bikie was welcomed by an entourage of bikie gang members, who ushered him into a stretch limousine.
But just two weeks into celebrating his freedom, some of Bowden's former bikie friends turned on him, gunning down in a drive-by shooting as he stood outside his Epping home in Melbourne on July 1.
Bowden was later admitted to hospital when the gunshot wound on his knee became infected and during his time in hospital, tested positive for coronavirus on August 5.
He was cleared of the virus on August 21 and six days later, checked himself out of hospital in Melbourne - against medical advice and struggling with a serious infection - and fled to Queensland.
Bowden landed in Brisbane on August 31 and was immediately taken to hotel quarantine in Surfers Paradise.
He didn't spend long in hotel quarantine after the nasty infection in his knee worsened and required Bowden to be taken to hospital.
He was then accused of lying on his border pass to get into Queensland with the state's Health Minister Steven Miles tweeting the news.
However, the bikie was cleared of any serious wrongdoing in court last week after a Gold Coast magistrate declared the border declaration form was "stupid".
Magistrate Joan White told Southport Magistrates Court she could "understand" how Bowden was "somewhat confused" by the border pass.
The specific question that Ms White said was confusing read: "Do you currently have COVID-19 or in the last 14 days have you been a cleared case of COVID-19?"
Ms White told the court, as reported by the Gold Coast Bulletin, the border pass needed to be fixed and the question should be split into two.
"These types of offences are quite serious, we live in troubled times and people have to do the right thing. I can understand that it was somewhat confusing for you and I can see exactly why," she said.
Bowden was fined $750 but was facing fines of up to $4000 for the crime. He also avoided a conviction for the lie.
"When I boarded the plane, I was not COVID-positive," Bowden said.
"I had been given the all-clear … I didn't put anyone at risk.
"The government have targeted me because of my past jail time and being OMCG."
Less than two weeks after his legal win, Bowden's troubled life would be cut short when the bikie was gunned down again - this time fatally.
Bowden had returned to his son's Pimpama home just after midnight when he was ambushed by two men and shot dead.
A short time later, a burnt-out vehicle was spotted by police just five minutes down the road.
Gold Coast detective Superintendent Brendan Smith said Bowden's two young grandchildren and his son had been home when he was allegedly murdered in his driveway.
"It clearly seems he has been ambushed," Supt Smith said.
"At this point, we believe the victim came home from the gym and has driven into his driveway, the assailants have run in and shot him multiple times and consequently now he is deceased.
"He's basically driven into his driveway, hasn't gotten out of his car and has been executed."
The detective confirmed the alleged murder was clearly bikie-related and said there was no risk to the community.
Supt Smith said police were investigating if Bowden's death was linked to him reportedly being "kicked out" of the Mongols gang earlier this year.
"It is important that people understand that these gangs are criminals, they don't take fluffy toys to hospital, they are criminal gangs who survive on retribution, violence and threats and if anyone thinks anything otherwise they're an idiot," he said.
"(The family) are obviously upset, it's not something you expect to happen in your home.
"But dare I say, and nobody deserves to die in this manner, but you live by the sword, you die by the sword."
Police are searching for two men, one in dark clothing and another in light clothing.
Originally published as Bikie's big fear before his execution