Coast surfer 'bashed to death'

Mark Ovenden loved the Bali lifestyle and was a regular visitor to the Indonesian tourism island.
Mark Ovenden loved the Bali lifestyle and was a regular visitor to the Indonesian tourism island. Contributed

BALI police are treating the death of Alexandra Headland surfer Mark Ovenden as a homicide.

An autopsy result  which came in on Monday showed Mr Ovenden was bashed then strangled.

The Daily understands an Indonesian woman of interest is missing.

The 34-year-old was discovered lying dead beside his rented motor scooter on a path at Nusa Dua last Thursday morning by a farmer looking for pasture for his animals.

His wallet including 600,000 ruphia ($63), watch and rings were found with him, initially leading police to believe he had died of an accident.

However Balinese press are now reporting that marks on his body may indicate he was beaten and strangled somewhere else and then dumped where he was found near Kutuh Village.

People who know the area say the location his body was found would all but rule out that he had died at the scene of an accident.

Early results from Denpasar's Sanglah Hospital are reported to have found strangulation marks around his neck and contusions, possibly caused by a blunt instrument, on his chest.

Ovenden, who grew up in Woombye and attended Nambour High School, was wearing only a pair of brown shorts when he was found.

He travelled to Bali on June 16 for a surfing holiday, intending to stay about two weeks.

Last Tuesday he left a massage with mates - in the company of a man described as tall and possibly American - saying he was going to pick up a surfboard.

His travelling companions who were staying with him at the MasaInn in Poppies Lane in the heart of Kuta Beach, saw no further sign of him until they were asked to identify his body two days later.

 

Friends mourn a great bloke

JULIE and Peter Cooper are still trying to come to terms with the mystery death of Mark Ovenden.

The Coast surfer whose body was found beside a road in Bali was like a son to them.

News of the 34-year-old's death has devastated the couple and their two sons, who have been attached to Mr Ovenden for more than 12 years.

The traveller had been on a surf holiday with a friend in Kuta and had been missing for two days, before his body was found on Thursday.

Mrs Cooper said the family considered Mr Ovenden as one of their own.

"He had the travel bug pretty bad," she said.

"He would be hopping all over the world searching for the best waves, but whenever he was in town he would be here and spending time with the family.

"He loved Bali. It was one of his favourite places to holiday."

The circumstances surrounding his death remained a mystery last night. A local farmer discovered his body on Thursday.

Police said he had wounds to his arms and torso, but would not speculate on the cause of death.

Mrs Cooper said Mr Ovenden had many friends all over the world and she did not believe he had any enemies in Bali.

"He was just relaxed and a pleasure to be around," she said.

"He loved people and had a caring nature. He had many friends who all loved him"

Mr Ovenden and the Coopers became friends after a meeting at the Goodlife Church at Buderim.

Brothers Josh, then 12 and Lee, then 10, had already met Mr Ovenden through surfing at Alexandra Headland - his favourite break.

"We just clicked, he ended up becoming part of the family," Mrs Cooper said.

"He was a great role model to the boys. He was just a real kind and gentle person."

Apart from surfing, Mr Ovenden's other talents included fishing and cooking.

He had built a career as a cook on trawlers and was in the middle of applying for a job as a cook in the offshore oil and gas industry in Western Australia.

Mrs Cooper said Mark's relaxed attitude was an example to her sons.

"He was just one of those guys who could hang out with anyone, he was like our surrogate son.

"The boys (now 22 and 19) looked up to him as a family member and a friend."

Mr Ovenden grew up in Woombye and attended a school Nambour.

He also worked as a surf instructor at Maroochydore.

 

TRIBUTES

Mark will always be remembered by his friends as a great bloke. He has always been talented, kind hearted, down to earth, adventurous, cheeky, loyal and a great mate. I will always look up to Mark, he inspired me. Mark was my friend. Mark was my closest cousin. I miss him greatly, though he will leave us with great memories.

John Roberts

KANSAS, u will be in our hearts forever mate, always loved never forgotten, we r going to miss you so much, may you rest in peace kansy love forever mark and crystal

Markgrover

Kansas, may your kind hearted spirit live on through all of us. Your forever in our hearts lit'l bro. until we meet again. rest in peace xox.

Alex and Sally

Topics:  autopsy, bali, death, homocide, julie and peter cooper, mark ovenden



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