By Alesha Capone
Simon Fenech says that although his biography is classified as true crime, it is actually “a tale of redemption”.
Mr Fenech, who grew up in Werribee and now lives in Sunbury, has co-authored his memoir Breaking Good with journalist Neil Bramwell.
The book charts Mr Fenech’s journey from champion kickboxer and everyday family man to becoming an ice addict, drug dealer and prison inmate, and his eventual recovery.
Mr Fenech said he tried ice after a workplace accident left him with a broken back and in debilitating pain for more than a year.
He soon became hooked and started dealing to support his habit, in a tragic year which also saw the death of his parents, brother and young daughter.
Across the course of about eight years, Mr Fenech was shot by an underworld hitman, stabbed three times and attempted suicide five times. He ended up being jailed for about 12 months.
Mr Fenech credited his brother, Victor, with helping him turn his life around.
Nowadays, Mr Fenech is the operations manager of Fruit2Work in Laverton North, a social enterprise which gives people who have served time in jail a chance to gain work experience and skills through employment.
The enterprise, which delivers fruit to worksites and offices, is incredibly successful in helping to reduce re-offending rates. None of its employees have returned to jail.
Mr Fenech said that a few years ago, he started talking about his life experience at work functions, in jails and at corporate events.
“It made me think my story is a bit different and that I might be able to help people, to tell them you can get through addiction, and you could get through jail, and there is life after jail,” he said.
After meeting Mr Bramwell, the pair spent around a year putting the book together.
Mr Fenech said since its publication earlier this year, he has heard from people across Australia – including addicts, their families and ex-prisoners – who have said his story has given them hope.
“To me, it’s a huge honour to have my life story in a book, knowing my story can inspire people,” Mr Fenech said.
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