News, Culture & Society

Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin murder arrest: Soldier is interrogated over alleged killing

A special forces soldier who served in two wars and works for a shadowy mercenary group has been arrested over the sniper execution of a notorious bikie leader.

The suspected hitman, who operates under the alias ‘Hawk’, was arrested after a three-month investigation into the brazen murder of Rebels boss Nick Martin.

Dozens of police officers shut down a quiet suburban street in Waikiki, in Perth’s south, and stormed the man’s red-brick home before arresting him on Monday.  

Armed officers formed a ring of steel around the station on Monday night in a bid to protect the man amid fears of a bikie revenge attack, The West Australian reports. 

Police are still grilling the man over the high-profile execution and are expected to lay charges on Tuesday.  

An elite soldier (pictured) with links to a shadowy mercenary group has been arrested over the suspected sniper execution of Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin

Martin (pictured) was shot in the back at a drag-racing event in Perth in December last year. Police suspect he may have been shot by a sniper from a distance as far as 300metres away

Martin (pictured) was shot in the back at a drag-racing event in Perth in December last year. Police suspect he may have been shot by a sniper from a distance as far as 300metres away

The suspect, who portrays himself as an adventure-loving humanitarian on social media, has links to an international mercenary organisation called ‘Shadow of Hope’.

Last year, the organisation shared a post online paying tribute to the soldier for his service in Iraq, describing him as their ‘resident thrill-seeker and heartbreaker’. 

‘When the way to save lives is illegal or cast in the shadow of bureaucracy, it takes unorthodox attributes and attitudes to get the job done,’ the group wrote. 

‘He was a natural fit for this role, and his tireless work, courage, and unique humor have given so much to those we serve.

The man was an electronics engineer before serving in two wars, ‘both privately and as a team leader, sniper and combat medic’, according to the organisation.

An engineer-turned-soldier (pictured) is being questioned by officers over the murder of a bikie boss

An engineer-turned-soldier (pictured) is being questioned by officers over the murder of a bikie boss

The man (pictured) is understood to have served for mercenary group Shadow of Hope in Iraq

The man (pictured) is understood to have served for mercenary group Shadow of Hope in Iraq

He has also been described as an ‘adrenaline junkie’, with a passion for wingsuit BASE-jumping, which has seen him star in documentaries and ‘compete on the world stage’.   

‘Given his love for leaping off tall structures and mountains, the local Kurds have given him the name Baz, which simply means “Hawk”,’ the group wrote online.

‘He has stated to us that while he loves the adventurous life, it is selfish that he pursues these risks simply for his own benefit.’

‘[He said] “Anyone can risk their life BASEjumping. But with Shadows of Hope, at least I’m risking mine to help others.” 

The man told the organisation he chose to serve with them because ‘they are the only charity willing to break all the rules and take all the risks’.    

The group said he was their 'resident thrill-seeker' and 'heartbreaker' who had been given the nickname 'Baz', which means 'Hawk', by local Kurdish people

The group said he was their ‘resident thrill-seeker’ and ‘heartbreaker’ who had been given the nickname ‘Baz’, which means ‘Hawk’, by local Kurdish people

Shadow of Hope describes itself as the ‘world’s most fearless charity’ and claims it is ‘dedicated to providing help in various forms all over the globe’. 

The group boasts about opening medical clinics in Middle-Eastern war zones, carrying out anti-human trafficking raids in South East Asia and performing ‘full combat duty’ in Africa. 

‘Shadows of Hope has earned its reputation as the world’s most fearless and unique charity operating where no other organisation can go,’ the website states. 

‘Our answer and ethos are simple — no one else can and no one else will. As conflict globally becomes more and more complex, charities worldwide grow more sophisticated. 

‘Yet there remain communities and places that no one will touch, situations too dangerous or hopeless that are forbidden to outsiders.’

Police raided the man's home in Waikiki on Monday, seizing several items, with forensic teams scouring nearby bushland at Warnbro

Police raided the man’s home in Waikiki on Monday, seizing several items, with forensic teams scouring nearby bushland at Warnbro

Police pictured raiding the man's house in Waikiki over the sniper shooting of bikie Nick Martin

Police pictured raiding the man’s house in Waikiki over the sniper shooting of bikie Nick Martin

Forensics teams and detectives, including Australian Federal Police, spent all of Monday afternoon sweeping the man’s home in Waikiki.

Police spent a considerable amount of time examining a boat parked out the front and a motorbike before taking both items away.

Other investigators were seen scouring bushland surrounding the salt water flats along Safety Bay Road, in nearby Warnbro, before loading evidence bags into vehicles.

Shocked neighbours said the man and his girlfriend were ‘model neighbours’ who always looked out for the community.      

Forensics teams and detectives swarmed the suspected shooter's home in Shoalhaven Place, in Waikiki, on Monday

Forensics teams and detectives swarmed the suspected shooter’s home in Shoalhaven Place, in Waikiki, on Monday

Police seized a boat from his Shoalhaven Place property on Monday

Police seized a boat from his Shoalhaven Place property on Monday

A bike was also towed away from the property by police as part of the investigation

A bike was also towed away from the property by police as part of the investigation

The man’s arrest comes after police posted a $1 million reward for information related to the brazen shooting.

The Rebels bikie boss, 51, was shot in the back at a packed drag racing event at the Perth Motorplex, Kwinana Beach at 8.30pm on Saturday, December 12.

He died at the scene in front of hundreds of horrified families and children including his own wife and step-daughter.         

After being hit, Martin told his wife Amanda: ‘babe, I’ve been shot’, as she tried to give him CPR while he died in her arms. 

Another man, convicted drug dealer Ricky Chapman, was injured in the shooting at the Kwinana raceway, south of Perth.

Police said the same bullet that killed Martin had passed through to hurt Chapman – and a bullet fragment was recovered from his arm.  

The public were shocked by the brazen execution which happened right in front of families. Pictured: the scene on the night of the shooting

The public were shocked by the brazen execution which happened right in front of families. Pictured: the scene on the night of the shooting

One of the possible shooter locations previously identified at the Perth Motorplex. A long shot would indicate a sniper, experts say

One of the possible shooter locations previously identified at the Perth Motorplex. A long shot would indicate a sniper, experts say

Queensland University of Technology associate professor of criminology Mark Lauchs, an expert on outlaw motorcycle gangs, said if the shot was taken from a distance then it was likely by a professional sniper as bikies don’t typically have great marksmanship skills.

‘If it’s from a long way away, I would assume it’s not bikie related as that’s not how bikies do things,’ he previously told Daily Mail Australia.

‘It may be associated with things other than a bikie war.’

Professor Lauchs said a deliberate execution of this type would be more likely to do with organised crime than an inter-club bikie war or an internal club dispute.

Martin (pictured) died in the arms of his wife Amanda as she tried to give him CPR. His last words were: 'babe, I've been shot'

Martin (pictured) died in the arms of his wife Amanda as she tried to give him CPR. His last words were: ‘babe, I’ve been shot’

WA Police had reportedly been trying to work out whether the sniper shot the bikie from an area close to bushland on the edge of the motor complex.

It is thought that surveillance cameras at the complex might yield some clues to the public killing that shocked the nation, with a toilet block 20 metres from where Martin was sitting thought to be the most valuable. 

Mr Lauchs told Daily Mail Australia that bikies were more direct, preferring brute force and open violence such as drive-by shootings and bashings to settle inter-club bikie war or internal club disputes. 

He said a deliberate execution of this type would be more likely to do with organised crime.

Big outlaw motorcycle clubs often had individuals within them involved with organised crime even when the club itself was not an organised criminal group, he said. 

A $1 million reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of the shooter who killed Nick Martin, 51, (pictured with wife Amanda)

A $1 million reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of the shooter who killed Nick Martin, 51, (pictured with wife Amanda)

Hundreds of mourners gathered on December 23 to farewell the former Rebels president at his Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park funeral – the majority turning up in patched Rebels colours.

Martin’s coffin was covered in pictures of $100 bills and Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower played as bikies took turns to walk up and touch it as it was brought in under a marquee for the service.

The public execution sparked fears of an bikie war, and WA Police launched Taskforce Ravello to find the killer.

Bikie compounds and properties were raided across Perth in December but no leads have been made public.   

Rebels bikie Nick Martin was riden in to Pinnaroo Cemetery in a coffin covered in pictures of $100 bills (pictured) at his extravagant bikie funeral on December 23

Rebels bikie Nick Martin was riden in to Pinnaroo Cemetery in a coffin covered in pictures of $100 bills (pictured) at his extravagant bikie funeral on December 23

Pictured: Rebels bikies embrace at the funeral of Nick Martin in Perth on December 23

Pictured: Rebels bikies embrace at the funeral of Nick Martin in Perth on December 23

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk