Home and Away child star Felix Dean issues grovelling apology to his victims as he opens up about his struggle with fame at a young age and how he was forced to live on the streets and resorted to meth
Felix Dean, a jailed former child television star who cited a horrible school experience for his drug-fueled descent into criminality, has expressed his sincere contrition.
When he was 14 years old, Dean, who played VJ Patterson on the popular Australian serial Home and Away for seven years, said he “resorted to drugs to cope with strong emotions,” but he wouldn’t say what the traumatic event was.
Dean, 26, apologized in a statement to all the individuals he had wronged and to his mother, who had supported him.
Along with dealing with it, I was also homeless and ashamed of the fact that people knew me from my time working as a TV actor.
Although Dean insisted that his time on Home and Away was a “positive experience,” he had trouble adjusting to the attention that celebrity brought.
“I am doing my best to overcome the challenges I have outside of the show,” he stated, “even though even the character has been replaced by multiple actors ten years later.”
All I want is to be given the chance to do this without having to deal with public and media criticism.
Though his life has been turbulent since then, with stints in jail and living on the streets, Dean claimed that he was able to finish school by ‘creating (his) own identity outside Home and Away’, despite his substance misuse and the pressures of popularity.
After entering a guilty plea to charges of assaulting three persons and attempting to steal a car by using a wine bottle as a weapon, Dean was sentenced to 20 months in jail on Monday with a one-year non-parole period.
Dean made an audiovisual connection appearance at Sydney Downing Center Local Court.
When he approached a stranger for “unclear reasons” outside a restaurant in Newtown, Sydney’s inner west, on April 31, the court heard he was under the influence of drugs and “heavily intoxicated.”
As they passed each other on the street, Dean said, “I’ll smash you.”
Dean shoved the man back a few meters as he spun around and attempted to hit him in the face.
When another man moved in, Dean gave him a hard shove in the chest and then punched him, which the man avoided.
As per the agreed facts, he and Dean’squared up to one another’ and assumed boxing stances while attempting to hit one other.
Then someone started to say something, but Dean pushed her from behind, making her stumble. Until the cops arrived, the two men had the actor in restraint.
A man’s fancy car was attempted to be stolen by Dean less than a month later, and he used a wine bottle as a weapon.
According to the agreed facts, he approached the owner of an Audi A5 on the evening of May 23 when he was seated in his vehicle in Botany, in the southern suburbs of Sydney.
The former child star yelled, “Get the f* out of the car c* and give me your f***ing keys.”
The agreed facts suggest that Dean flung a full wine bottle out of his backpack towards the car owner, who leaned back to avoid being hit, after the victim warned him to “f*** off.”
The actor gave up on the carjacking attempt after the man gave him a kick to the face and chest even after he had agreed to give up the keys.
The court was informed that both of the violent occurrences took place while Dean was on a good behavior bond for an earlier violent incident.
He was found guilty the previous year after taking a classmate’s father by the arm and forcing him to settle his son’s $300 debt.
Phoebe MacDougall, his attorney, informed the court that Dean did not contest the offenses’ facts.
Given the drugs he was using at the time—meth and alcohol—he mainly doesn’t remember the events, she added.
The court was informed that Dean had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance addiction disorder.
It was accepted by Magistrate Robert Williams that the actor required ‘quite extensive treatment’ for his mental health, addictions, and stress and anger management.
Nonetheless, he emphasized the violent incidents from Dean’s past that were on his criminal record.
Although the magistrate acknowledged that none of the four victims had been hurt in the attacks, she stated that the victims would nonetheless have been afraid for their safety due to the “serious offences.”
He declared, “The court must take the community’s safety into account.”
Dean’s breakthrough role came when he was barely ten years old, costarring with Ada Nicodemou as her on-screen son VJ Patterson on Home and Away from 2007 to 2014.
Being ‘constantly surrounded’ by adults—having previously performed for three years—made for a ‘very different and odd experience’ for him before he entered the program.
When Dean was imprisoned for 86 days in 2021 and then released under stringent bail terms into his mother’s care, it marked the beginning of a string of jail sentences for him.
After being under effective home detention for 37 days at Gordon Private Hospital, he was released in June 2022, when his addiction flared up once more.
After using a hammer to strike a tobacconist in October 2021, he was back in prison—this was his fourth arrest in as many years.
He entered a guilty plea in January 2022 to charges of shoplifting, affray, assault with purpose to rob, being armed with intent to commit an indictable offense, and attacking police.
Dean’s recent addresses at Erskineville, Redfern, Randwick, Kellyville, and a rehab facility in Harris Park were listed in court documents.
Dean’s record includes damaging $7,624 worth of property in May 2020 when he drove his Subaru WRX vehicle through the automatic security gate of a five-star hotel suites in the parking lot.
Dean entered a guilty plea to willfully causing property damage and was given a nine-month conditional release order. Dean failed to notify staff members of what had happened.
Dean had been charged with nine different offenses, ranging from assault to larceny, according to a statement of facts provided by the police at the time. He was getting $1,000 from Centrelink and staying at an Airbnb.
Early in the year of last year, Dean assaulted an Uber driver and broke another man’s glass, which led to his second significant run-in with the cops.
By that time, he had become homeless and was sleeping in hotels across Sydney on an irregular basis. The NSW Trustee & Guardian had been appointed to manage his funds and was giving him a weekly allowance of $150.
The same body also covered his lodging expenses. He also kept a leased investment property in Botany, with $330 a week in rent put into his trustee account.
Shortly before nine o’clock on January 6, a neighbor noticed Dean urinating outside his apartment while he was drinking with a friend in the park behind King Street in Newtown.
‘Come on mate, people live here, what are you doing?’ exclaimed one of the residents. ‘Do you want a fight?’ Dean asked, laughing.
Dean grabbed up a bottle and broke one of his windows after the man dialed Triple 000 and showed the jobless actor his phone screen.
After an hour or so, Dean was crossing Wilson Street in the vicinity of Erskineville Road while standing on a sidewalk when an Uber driver came by.
After running in front of the car, Dean smacked the bonnet, unlocked the door, and started punching the driver in the head and face.
‘Get out of the car you f***king c***,’ Dean told the driver, who kicked him in the abdomen, closed the door and drove away.
After the assault on the Uber driver was caught on camera, Dean entered a guilty plea in May 2021 to assault with the purpose to rob and willful property destruction.
A distinguishing tattoo on Dean’s calf helped a witness recognize him as the attacker.
The Uber driver’s attack was described by Magistrate Viney as nasty, unprovoked, and spontaneous. Mr Rowe claimed that Dean was too inebriated to recall it.
Dean’s second encounter with the police occurred at Paddington in the afternoon of September 18, 2021, after he disobeyed a Covid-19 directive.
He had violated a public health order by drinking at a friend’s house, and when the police arrived to deal with a disturbance, he kicked one of them in the leg.
Following that incident, Dean was given bail with stringent requirements, such as adhering to a curfew of 6 p.m. and being subject to arbitrary drug and alcohol testing.
After robbing the store of a cell phone, Dean struck the clerk in the face and came back to bash him with a hammer.
Since leaving Home and Away as a 17-year-old and being replaced by Matt Little in the long-running soap opera, Dean has not had an acting credit.
After spending years together on the show, Dean’s on-screen mother Nicodemou stated at the time that she thought of Dean as a “surrogate son.”
For his portrayal as VJ Patterson, Dean received nominations for Best Young Actor at the Inside Soap Awards in 2008 and 2009. When the gig was over, he completely vanished from the spotlight.