By Marta Pascual Juanola and Hamish Hastie
The family and friends of slain Rebels boss Nick Martin have painted the picture of the man behind the tough exterior adorned in patches and tattoos during an emotional service at his funeral.
In a heartfelt address at Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park on Wednesday, they described the bikie boss as a doting father and a “cuddly teddy bear”, who had a sweet tooth and loved making trifle.
Fighting to hold back the tears, Mr Martin’s sister Renee said her brother was the family’s “safety blanket”, a laughing, loving and caring man who made those around him feel protected.
“Not many saw the man we knew,” she said. “A man who loved his daughter more than life itself.”
Mr Martin’s wife Amanda broke down in tears as she recounted some of her fondest memories with her partner, who loved going to the Perth Motorplex and stealing other people’s food.
“I met Nick 15 years ago when he was just a nom. He was gorgeous. He had abs, who knows what happened to them?” she said as the crowd broke into laughter.
“In the 10 years we spent together we had about six fights and our fights lasted until he was hungry, so about two hours.
“I never thought this day would come that I would be without my Nick. There’s a hole in my heart that cannot be healed. My best friend is gone and I am broken into a million pieces.”
About 400 mourners gathered at the cemetery on Wednesday afternoon to farewell Mr Martin, who was fatally shot by a suspected sniper in front of onlookers, including children, at the Perth Motorplex on December 12.
Mr Martin was watching the Outlaw Nitro Challenge at the Kwinana venue with his wife and stepdaughter when he was struck about 8.40pm.
The partner of Mr Martin’s stepdaughter, former Bandidos bikie Ricky Chapman, was hit in the arm by the bullet. A five-year-old who was sitting on Mr Martin’s wife’s lap was also injured but did not need medical attention.
Mr Martin and his wife were due to face court over accusations they attempted to extort cash from a tattoo parlour owner and a car from their former accountant.
The charges relating to the tattoo parlour were discontinued in October but Ms Martin is due to face court in relation to the extortion charges on January 29.
Patched Rebels members gathered at Purslowe & Chipper funeral home in North Perth from 10am before escorting Mr Martin’s coffin to Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park.
The roar of about 200 motorbikes echoed through North Perth as the procession rolled down Scarborough Beach Road, flanked by about a dozen police vehicles.
Members of the public watched on from either side of Whitfords Avenue as the procession rolled in, some sitting on foldable camping chairs they had brought for the occasion.
Mr Martin’s coffin, decorated with pictures of $100 notes and the confederate flag, was carried in on a red carpet under a guard of honour as Bob Dylan’s Hurricane sounded through the cemetery and police helicopters hovered above.
Friends and family then took turns to share their tributes to the 51-year-old on a stage adorned with a Rebel’s logo made with flowers.
While many of Mr Martin’s friends and fellow Rebels members spoke of his unwavering loyalty they also hinted at his belligerence and brushes with the law.
One of Martin’s closest friends Henry Day recounted their younger years together where Mr Martin would delight in flattening the opposition while playing at various rugby clubs around Perth and incidents while working security at nightclubs.
Mr Day described the slain bikie as loyal, a “painfully” proud father, and joked about how much he ate.
“Nick and I have been mates for 35 years as far as I’m concerned that friendship still goes on, we just won’t be catching up for lunch as much which will probably save both of us a shit tonne of money,” he said.
“That mother f—-r could eat and he had this annoying habit of always picking food off my plate. If I ordered a dozen prawns those big mits of his would be across four before you know it and [it’s] probably one of the main reasons we never ever saw Nick Martin’s abs.
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“Nick was likeable, he had a raw honesty about him and was loyal to a fault. Once you were in Nick’s inner circle and he bonded to you his loyalty was extreme and for life.”
Former Rebels Australia president Alex Vella read out a poem he had written for the funeral via video link in front of a Rebels MC flag from Malta, where he has been exiled since 2014 after his visa was revoked by the Australian government on character grounds.
Mr Vella took a swipe at Mr Martin’s murderer and said he was now with the Lord.
“Nick was always out not hard to chase, they didn’t like to face him face to face,” Mr Vella said.
“They shot my mate from 300 metres away, we all came together to pay our respects today.
“Our Lord took Nick martin to rest, our Lord always takes the very best.”
The service wrapped up with a tribute showcasing family photos of Mr Martin to the tune of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, followed by a few minutes of mourning where attendees paid their respects by placing Rebels flags and rosemary branches on the casket.
Mourners then rode from Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park to East Victoria Park, where a wake was held at the Rebels’ clubhouse.
WA Police superintendent Rod Wilde said while most attendees had been “well behaved” officers would continue to monitor the funeral late into the evening.
“Public safety obviously is our number one concern, and we’ll have sufficient policing resources to make sure that’s happening,” he said.
Investigations into Mr Martin’s death are ongoing, with police working to determine how the execution was carried out.
Mr Vella’s full poem to Nick Martin:
I find this poem very hard to write, Nick’s life and future was bright.
He was born on the 3rd of November 1969, he loved to party and he loved to dine.
As a businessman he was on top, he loved being around his shop.
He met Amanda his beautiful wife, she loved him and kept him out of strife.
With all his family he was proud, he will tell you very loud.
He loved Stacey and Tia his daughter, he kept his family in good order.
He was so proud of his mum and dad, what happened on Sunday was very sad.
On the 12 December 2020 Nick passed away, for our brother Nick we all have to pray.
Nick to me he was a good mate, the Rebels and Nick they have good faith.
With the Rebels he rode side by side, he was a president and full of pride.
If you need a hand give Nick a call, he loved his pets and his three pitbulls.
Nick’s life’s being one huge wave, the doctors, my mate, they couldn’t save.
Nick was always out, not hard to chase, they didn’t like to face him face to face.
They shot my mate from 300 metres away, we all came together to pay our respects today.
Nick was 51 years old, as a grandpa he enjoyed life, for the family and brothers I wish he did survive.
When they told me the bad news I couldn’t believe, Nick and Amanda had so much to achieve.
Nick always stood for his right, Mr Martin had class, dignity and pride.
The best he had and gave, he was a proud Rebel and brave.
Nick went to places all alone, now he is with our Lord in a new home.
About Nick forever we will be telling a story, now he is with our Lord in glory.
My condolence to all the family, his wife, daughters and friends, no one knows how our life will end.
Our Lord took Nick Martin to rest, our Lord always takes the very best.
God bless our brother Nick, rest in peace brother.