Mildura Weekly : Friday May 16 2014 Vol 8 No 28
www.milduraweekly.com.au 8 Mildura Weekly – 16/05/14 The ‘Sonny’ Lindsey story ROBERT ‘Sonny’ Lindsey and two teenage mates had just crashed a stolen car in suburban Mel- bourne, and were trying to flee the scene when police arrived, guns drawn. The shot from one po- liceman’s gun was loud, and sounded very, very close. “When I heard the gun go off, I froze,” ‘Sonny’ said. “I didn’t know if he was firing at me, or up in the air. I didn’t care...it was too close for comfort, and one of the wake-up calls of life.” ‘Sonny’ admits he’s had a few more near-death experiences in a colourful and eventful life...in- cluding another time when he was shot at during a violent gang fight, several car bad crashes, and also after experimenting with drugs. Alcohol was usually a contributing factor to much of the trouble. Apart from the run-in with police over the stolen car, ‘Sonny’ says he’s had many other ‘close shaves’ ...and wake-up calls, es- pecially in his years as a ward of the State, and during his teen years as a member of a Port Mel- bourne street gang. “There was a time when gang members were the only family I had,” he says. “I was always in the thick of the action...first to put my hand up...I was mixing with some of the meanest, toughest young blokes in Melbourne...blokes with connections to wharfies, painters and dockers and the like.” ‘Sonny’ says that’s all behind him now. He says football gave him opportunities he never dreamed of...at one stage he came under the scrutiny of six AFL clubs...and his love of football, a supportive partner and her family, and his love of the Mil- dura region in general have helped him mend his ways...although he admits he still has his mo- ments, especially if goaded, or ‘baited’ by idiots. The ‘Sonny’ Lindsey story isn’t a pretty one. It’s a bit of an understatement to say he’s been a bad boy for much of his life...but then you watch the 34-year-old dote on his two younger boys, Noah, 3, and little Xavier, 20 months (Mitchell, 6, was at school), the way he answers some tough ques- tions openly and honestly, and you get the feeling there’s a bit of substance to this bloke. He’s lucky to be here at all. ‘Sonny’ has vivid, frightening memories of the fire that destroyed his grandparents’ house in Seaford, Melbourne when he was four, and where he was living after his par- ents separated. • Continued Page 12 By Alan Erskine email@example.com FRIDAY People FRIDAY Robert ‘Sonny’ Lindsey is a survivor. As a toddler he lost a sister in a house fire that left him badly burned...he’s a former ward of the State who was beaten, molested and used virtually as ‘slave’ labour...he joined a street gang...he’s been shot at twice...crashed stolen cars...been in gang, pub and footy fights, taken and peddled drugs. ‘Sonny’ was virtually on his own from the age of five...he’s experienced the highs and lows of life - mainly lows - to the point where he attempted suicide in his teens...he’s had failed relationships, admits he’s never taken a backward step in a fight, and has many regrets, but support and understanding from a partner and her family, a love of football - “and three beautiful young boys” - have given his life new meaning and purpose. ‘Sonny’ has never told his life story before. He hasn’t trusted too many people, but with a lot of mistakes behind him, and hopefully the best years ahead, he agreed to share his story with the Mildura Weekly in the hope it might help present-day youngsters avoid the mistakes he made. Things like street fighting...using and selling drugs...stealing cars, motorbikes and petty crime. “There’s no money in it...and definitely no future in it,” he says. This is...
Friday May 9 2014 Vol 8 No 27
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