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Putting the weights on: Bikie boss admits extortion of gym owner after boyfriend split


A bikie boss has admitted involvement in the extortion of a woman who owned a gym business with a former top-grade rugby league player.

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Ian Ronald Crowden is already serving an 11-year jail sentence after pleading guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court last year to “an array of criminality” dating back to 2014.

The 49-year-old was sentenced in the Brisbane District Court on Friday for the extortion of a woman to take over ownership of the gym.

The woman had been in a relationship and owned a gym with Anthony “Chook” Fowler, who had a short NSWRL career in 1994 with the now-defunct Gold Coast Seagulls.

After the couple’s relationship ended, bikie club members went to the woman’s father’s house wearing black tracksuits and beanies to say she had to “sign the business over to Chook”, court documents state.

Fowler engaged Crowden who didn’t involve himself in the actual threats but brought others into the extortion, Judge Brad Farr said.

“A purpose was to obtain a benefit for yourself, that being a directorship of the business in question.”

It was done through fear, intimidation and threats with Crowden being “well involved” and party to the offending of others.

Last year Crowden pleaded guilty to offences including drug trafficking and an assault, with others, on a fellow gang member who gave a statement to police.

After the man was punched and kicked about 50 times, losing consciousness, Crowden picked up a hammer, smashing his hand about three times then hitting his legs, court documents state.

During another assault Crowden broke a plastic chair by slamming it into the gang member’s ribs.

Judge Farr sentenced Crowden on Friday to two years in jail for the extortion, cumulative on the sentence he is already serving.

The court heard Crowden used illicit steroids for decades and worked in a crematorium and burial businesses which exposed him to traumatic experiences.

He will be eligible for parole in June 2027.

Fowler was sentenced to six years’ jail last year after pleading guilty to extortion and other charges.

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