Career criminal Kevin Knowles was gunned down on the outskirts of Kirkstall last Friday and while many people have not shed tears after his death, partner Tracey Leske remembers someone she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
"He was cowardly shot in the back of the head. You wouldn't do that to a dog.
"Kevin hasn't even got a break when he's dead.
"There was no altercation with this idiot (Travis Cashmore). Sometimes he would pull over and give Kevin a lift."
Ms Leske said she had seen images of Cashmore posing with a gun that had been posted on Facebook.
"Cashmore is standing there with a gun quite, quite proud," she said of the images.
"Kevin would say 'there's a problem with that bloke'. A lot of people say a lot of things, but Kevin was always a gentleman to me."
Ms Leske said she had been with Knowles about five years and formed a relationship about a year after Knowles' former partner Amanda Bourke drowned at The Cutting near Killarney.
"Kevin was Kevin but he never laid one finger on me. I don't know about what happened in his past relationships," she said.
Knowles' partner said she had been told that Cashmore was driving up and down Scotts North Road before the shooting about 10.20am Friday.
"A neighbour said he noticed the van going past about 9.30am and then the van went up the road a couple of more times.
"It was the third time that the van slowed down and there was the sound of a shot.
"Kevin didn't see it coming. I don't even know why he was on Scotts North Road. He would always walk along the Koroit-Kirkstall Road.
"Kev had to walk. He didn't have a licence. Sometimes he would get a lift. I was away for a couple of days seeing my daughter."
Ms Leske said Knowles met the other victim, Benny Ray, at the Koroit bus stop when they were heading to Warrnambool.
"Benny was a simple little fellow. They met a couple of times," she said.
"Benny said his wife died after they went grocery shopping. They got home and she just dropped dead.
"Benny had stayed here but he didn't live here."
Ms Leske said Knowles may have been seen as a colourful character, but he had a heart of gold.
"I reckon he was more soft than what I was," she said.
"Kevin had his moments. Kevin was Kevin.
"We got together after 'Bourkey' (Amanda Bourke) died. So many people told me about Kevin and I just said 'if I need ya, I'll call ya'.
"I'm 52 years old and he never left a bruise on me."
Knowles' partner also said others had noticed the positive impact she had on Knowles.
"He was a lot quieter than he used to be," she said.
"He was over that other stuff. If he did things in the past he would have been jailed.
"I remember him going to Koroit after 'Bourkey' died and people were just talking and looking at him.
"He was really upset about that.
"The last time he was at court, someone claimed he had run through their house. He was over the jail shit."
Ms Leske said she was finding it hard to come to terms with Knowles' death.
"It's so hard. Even talking to people, it doesn't seem real," she said.
"It was for nothing, just nothing.
"Both Kevin and Benny were fathers, they were brothers and uncles - they were real people.
"I'm sick of the people around here. We just got back from a trip to Tassie. I had never seen Kevin happier. Just relaxing and fishing.
"I saw a different side of Kevin."
Ms Leske said Benny was devoted to his little dog Bud.
"I had only known him for a couple of years," she said.
She said she often said to Kevin, 'how's ya handbag?'
"It was a bromance," she said.
"Kevin could say the world was a triangle and Benny would say 'yes Kevin, yes Kevin.
"It was a weird relationship but they complimented each other. Benny was a complete lost soul.
"Benny had been doing really well at St Albans. He came back up here last Wednesday and I left for a couple of days.
"I spent nearly eight years in the air force and came back to Port Fairy in 2004 and then moved to Warrnambool.
Ms Leske said she and Knowles just wanted to live a quiet life in Kirkstall.
"He made the best poached eggs ever," she said.
"I ring his phone just to hear his voice. He wanted a quiet life and now that's all gone.
"We had even picked out colours for the bedroom.
"I could never see me leaving Kevin."
She said Knowles had three boys aged in their 20s and a two-year-old grandson.
"He just wanted a fair go. He wasn't doing anything wrong. This other idiot has taken it on himself to be judge, jury and executor," she said.
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