The women who shaped the life of Gary Jubelin
A fellow homicide Detective, a glamorous psychologist, a Brazilian yoga teacher and his childhood sweetheart: these are the women who made Gary Jubelin.
But it starts with his mother, sweet-natured beauty Colleen, who in her early 20s won a Miss Gold Coast pageant heat while holidaying in Queensland with a friend - but her new husband Kevin Jubelin wouldn't let her return to the Gold Coast to compete in the final.
"Mum's softer than dad is. She's the one we cuddle up to," Jubelin writes.
"She's the person who gives us breakfast, dresses us, takes us to school, and then is there to greet us when we burst into the house again in the afternoon. She makes our dinner, sits with us to do our homework and puts us to bed. In the evenings, she works at the knitting machine in our crowded living room, making us clothes. But because she's always there, we take those things for granted."
Bonus "I Catch Killers" podcast: Gary Jubelin's most searing interview ever, introducing his explosive new book.
The Life and Many Deaths of a Homicide Detective, is published by HarperCollins Australia on Thursday, August 20 in paperback, e-book and audio. Pre-order your signed copy at Booktopia.
The young Jubelin is a bit of a hippy, an apprentice electrician from Epping who spends his weekends driving to the northern beaches and central coast to surf.
His girlfriend Debbie is "a year younger than me, slight and slender, with long dark hair and a smile that makes you want to smile along with her. We went to the same primary school, then separate high schools, then became friends again after school was over. I liked the fact she was a little bit rebellious. During a surfing holiday with mates around Byron Bay, we drank and partied, slept in cars or on beaches, and realised the two of us had another shared history from when we were kids; both of us had gone bushwalking separately with our fathers when each family got lost. The two groups found each other in the bush and worked together to find our way home, making it back well after dark had fallen."
The young Jubelin is thunderstruck in 1985, after he decides to become a cop and moves to the Police Academy in Goulburn, when Debbie announces she's met someone else: a surfer.
"'A surfer?' I ask her. 'I'm a surfer.' She says she wants to break up. The two of us should have some time apart, she tells me. I feel adrift, as if I'm starting a new life and just beginning to realise what the world has out there, but Debbie is my lifeline back to my old self," he writes.
"In my accommodation block, there is only one phone, in the foyer. I use it to call her, every evening, trying to win her back, while all the other recruits are listening. I tell Debbie I understand why she fell for this surfer, but that I haven't changed. I'm still the same free spirit who she first fell in love with. 'I could be the surfer you met in Bali,' I tell her. I'm just as carefree as he was, only our circumstances right now are different. Just because I've given myself to the cops, doesn't mean I'm a different person', I argue."
Debbie relented and the happy pair married in 1985 and have two adored children, Jake and Gemma. By 2001, though, the couple had separated as the pressure of Jubelin's homicide work mounted.
Jubelin later began a romance with fellow homicide Detective Pam Young, whom he has described as the toughest cop he knows.
"There was something about her; she had poise and a don't-f...-with-me look, as if sending a warning to any man who tried to hit on her that she could bite his head off, but when you got past that, she had a deep compassion," Jubelin writes.
"Like me, Pam wore dark suits, but hers were more elegant. She had fine cheek bones like a china sculpture, a graceful way of moving and deceptively soft blue eyes which had seen as many bodies as I had at work. In the past, she'd worked Arson, then the Breakers Squad, going after safebreakers and professional thieves, and now she was one of only two or three women among the dozens of male cops who worked murders for a living. That took courage."
The couple were together for several years before splitting, and Jubelin was married again, to Perth psychologist Tracy Westerman, a former West Australian of the year and renowned specialist in Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention.
After this marriage ended, Jubelin found love again with a Brazilian yoga instructor, Josie, although the pair are no longer together.
Jubelin said in an interview he was nervous about the book's launch, having decided to tell his story "warts and all", including relationship breakups.
"I did not want the book to be just my version of events and everyone else can take it or leave it," he said. "I needed to tell the truth: relationships and the complexity of the relationships. I hope that bore out because that I've no regrets from the relationships I've been in. And that's just the way life turns out sometimes."
Jo in Gary and Claire Harvey for an exclusive live event online at 6:30pm AEST on Wednesday, August 19 at True Crime Australia on Facebook.
Originally published as The women who shaped the life of Gary Jubelin