Mr O'Brien loved being on the water.
Mr O'Brien loved being on the water. Shane O'Brien

Murdered man's son speaks out about dad's 'heart of gold'

TORIN O'Brien was excited for his dad to see him fight for the first time on the Sunshine Coast but just hours before the Saturday event, two police officers delivered the news his father had been killed.

Torin had recently spoken to his father so he wasn't expecting two police officers to be knocking on his hotel room door.

Torin, a professional muay thai fighter, trainer and gym owner from Rockhampton, was on the Sunshine Coast with his wife, where they were both fighting in the Coastal Warfare competition.

The two officers told him that his dad, Shane O'Brien, had been murdered the day before in his Yeppoon home and a 49-year-old man had been charged after allegedly killing Mr O'Brien.

 

FIGHTING SPIRIT: Torin and his wife Amy are both Muay Thai fighters. Torin was expecting his dad to see him fight for the first time but instead got a call saying he was dead.
FIGHTING SPIRIT: Torin and his wife Amy are both Muay Thai fighters. Torin was expecting his dad to see him fight for the first time but instead got a call saying he was dead. Torin O'Brien

"I had spoken to my father the day before that," Torin said.

"He was meant to come down and watch me fight at the Sunshine Coast and he had work there.

"I hadn't heard from him during the Friday and then on Saturday, the police showed up at our hotel room, which was really strange and they told me that he had been found dead and they had charged a man with the murder."

Mr O'Brien had been a fisherman most of his life, and spent a large portion of his time on the water.

 

Shane O'Brien worked as a fisherman on trawlers most of his life.
Shane O'Brien worked as a fisherman on trawlers most of his life. Shane O'Brien

"Fishing was probably the biggest part of his life; he spent most of his life out at sea, more than 20 years actually living at sea," he said.

It was fishing, as well as his son's fight, that was meant to bring Mr O'Brien to the Sunshine Coast, but he never made it.

"He had just started fishing again after a heap of injuries and he was going out to a boat that had docked on the Sunshine Coast," Torin said.

"That's why he was going to come and watch me fight for the first time.

"He was going to come down on the Saturday and then head out on the boat on the Sunday, but obviously that didn't end up happening."

 

Shane O'Brien lived on the sea for over 20 years working as a fisherman on trawlers. He had lived and worked all over Australia.
Shane O'Brien lived on the sea for over 20 years working as a fisherman on trawlers. He had lived and worked all over Australia. Shane O'Brien

Knowing that his dad would expect him to fight, despite the horrible news he had just received, Torin made the decision to stay in the competition, and just three hours after hearing his dad had been killed he stepped into the ring, ready to fight.

"That was really tough," he said. "It was already a pretty big night because my wife was fighting for the first time in front of a big crowd like that, so I was already thinking about that and then to get the news about my father.

"Look, I guess most people would have pulled out and withdrawn from the fight but we were already there, and a lot of people worked very hard for this, people put in countless hours every day for sometimes two or three months to get ready.

 

Mr O'Brien in his younger days with a barramundi he caught.
Mr O'Brien in his younger days with a barramundi he caught. Shane O'Brien

"We decided to just do it, and that's pretty much what he would expect, he wouldn't want us sitting around sulking so we got our stuff ready and went to the fight and we both fought hard."

During the first round of the fight Torin had his arm broken and, exhausted by the adrenaline and emotions, he says he was glad he had something to distract him from the news.

"It was pretty exhausting, because you get news like that, and I had to keep it to myself," he said. 

"All these other people that were fighting have all got their own nerves and it's not something you run around telling people.

"Once my fight was done I could have a couple of beers and get back to the hotel room and relax and digest it a bit because it was quite exhausting having all that adrenaline and all that bad news mixed together ... it was pretty rough."

 

Rocky Rumble 18 fighters Luke Ruddick and Torin O'Brien training at The Snake Pit.
Rocky Rumble 18 fighters Luke Ruddick and Torin O'Brien training at The Snake Pit. Allan Reinikka ROK270718arockyru

Torin was born in New Zealand and moved with his father to Melbourne where they lived for a number of years before moving to Yeppoon.

"When I was about 16, Dad moved up to Yeppoon," he said.

"I stayed in Melbourne until I was about 22.

"He did a lot of fishing at Yeppoon, especially in the '80s, '90s and early 2000s.

"He lived, worked and travelled around the country on and off for so long so he didn't really know too many people in Yeppoon."

Torin said he got his spirit and fight from his father, who he described as a tough but good man.

"There were sort of two sides to him," he said.

 

Torin O'Brien was on the Sunshine Coast when we found out his father, Shane had been murdered in his Yeppoon home.
Torin O'Brien was on the Sunshine Coast when we found out his father, Shane had been murdered in his Yeppoon home. Torin O'Brien

"He was a very hard man, very staunch and took no bullshit but he had a heart of gold and he'd give you the shirt off his back.

"He definitely wasn't perfect, he had a lot of troubles, but at the end of the day he was a good person."

After a "pretty tough few days", Torin said his family and his business were his priority at the moment.

"I have a broken arm and a bunged knee from another fight, so it is almost comical how much has gone wrong," he said.

"I have my own gym and I train a lot of fighters too and they're all fighting next month in Yeppoon, so I've got a lot of people relying on me to get through what they've got to get through so I've just got to get up and carry on as best I can.

"I have just got to get on with it, me and my wife have our girls to look after and a business."



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