Ben Friske threatened to smash a client’s skull and shoot her if she did not pay for the fence he built, which was not up to standards.
Ben Friske threatened to smash a client’s skull and shoot her if she did not pay for the fence he built, which was not up to standards.

Tradie threatened to shoot mum, kids over pay dispute

A GYMPIE fencer has lost his business after he threatened to "smash a client's skull to mush" and shoot her children after she refused to pay an invoice for a fence he did not build properly.

Between November and December last year, Ben James Friske, 30, extorted two clients of his business, Friske Fencing and Creative Carpentry, who had refused to pay the balance of their invoices, Gympie District Court heard at its recent sittings.

The first complainant, a Cooroibah woman, contracted Friske to build a fence and gate, and paid a deposit prior to the build.

Friske worked "sporadically" on the fence, and when it was finished the client said it was not satisfactorily up to industry standards and refused to pay the balance of her invoice until it was fixed.

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Friske then sent her several threatening texts and said he would cut the fence down with a chainsaw if she did not pay, the court heard.

He said he would "name and shame" her for not paying and sent another invoice.

The client sent Friske a list of defects to be fixed on the fence, and he called her a "grub" and threatened to "smash her skull to mush," the court heard.

He then threatened to shoot her and her children, smash their car and kick her partner.

In December, a second complainant, a Gympie woman, hired Friske to build a fence and also paid a deposit of 50 per cent.

Friske harassed a client, calling her 51 times over two days and left threatening emails, voicemails, texts and Facebook messages.
Friske harassed a client, calling her 51 times over two days and left threatening emails, voicemails, texts and Facebook messages.

Again, when the fence was completed the client was dissatisfied, and said it did not meet standards and refused to pay the balance.

The court heard Friske harassed the woman and sent her emails, Facebook messages, texts and voicemails threatening violence.

On one day he called her 37 times, and on another he called her 14 times, the court heard.

When she said she would call police he said "I don't give a f--- about police you grub, I'm the law".

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Friske damaged the woman's fence, costing her $500 in insurance excess to fix.

He was arrested on December 18 and was denied bail in Gympie Magistrates Court later that month, but was granted Supreme Court bail on June 5, this year after serving 170 days of pre-sentence custody.

Friske faced Gympie District Court last week and pleaded guilty to two counts of extortion, one count of wilful and unlawful damage and one count of using a carriage service to menace and harass.

Prosecutor Katrina Overell said Friske showed no remorse for his actions, and had not apologised or offered restitution to the victims.

Friske's lawyer, Jacob Robson, said many of the messages sent to the victims, especially ones at night, were sent while Friske was intoxicated.

Mr Robson said Friske had lost his business due to the offences and since being released on bail had stopped drinking and was working with his brother.

Judge Gary Long adjourned the matter to Maroochydore District Court, on a date yet to be confirmed.

Gympie Times


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