Motivated by Love

Simon Bouda AM

It’s taken Ken Marslew 29 years to write his story. I know because I have been involved since the very beginning in 1994.

Now, in 2024, Ken has penned a father’s account of losing a son to murder and another to suicide.

Recently, Ken explained that he’d struggled with the title of his book and came up with Motivated by Murder. But a meeting with a priest changed his mind. Ken told the priest, “I am an angry man; I am motivated by anger.” The priest replied, “You are motivated by love.”

Motivated by Love is a raw, emotional, and gripping account of how Ken Marslew tried to deal with the murder of his 18-year-old son, Michael, during a Pizza Hut robbery in southern Sydney in February 1994. 

Ken would often talk to me about writing his book.

He’d explain that he’d start, and then emotions, thoughts, and heartache would kick in, and the typing stopped. Thoughts also turned to what might have been. It was, in his words, overwhelming.

I was honoured that Ken gave me a signed copy of Motivated by Love, which I recently read while on a brief holiday. I could not put it down.

Motivated By Love leads the reader on Ken’s long and painful journey. The opening words are poignant: ‘It’s not what happens to you that matters, but what you do when it happens’.

From the moment the police knocked on his door to tell him his son had been murdered, to the grief, then anger, and then his determination not to let his son’s death be in vain.

It also leads us through the police investigation that led to the conviction of Michael’s killers but also exposes what Ken describes as flaws in our judicial system.

“We do not have a justice system; we have a legal process. It has bugger-all to do with justice,” Ken told reporters back then.

Michael’s murder inspired Ken to form the anti-crime group Enough is Enough to “pursue legislative reform and to improve the justice system”.

Part of his motivation was to examine ways to affect change. Enough is Enough has taken him into schools, juvenile correction centres and prisons. He even tried to work with one of his son’s killers. 

Ken Marslew is a survivor.

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