Tina and Dave Gunter
School dropout Dave Gunter now mentors youth to avoid the mistakes he made
With a poor education, a dysfunctional family and three mates sitting in jail,
Dave Gunter’s dream of becoming a criminal investigator grew dim.
After his parents split when he was 15, Dave was kicked out of his first high
school and asked to leave the second, and ended up couch surfing between
mates’ houses and sleeping on the beach.
“I always wanted to become an investigator, but I never had an
education,” Dave recalls. “I was dyslexic, but back then if you
were a troubled child you were just told to sit at the back of class.”
Coming from a very low socio-economic area in Melbourne, three of Dave’s
mates had been sent to jail by the time they were 16, two for murder and one
His life began to change when he took a job in a nightclub cleaning glasses.
There he became a bouncer at the door, and soon formed his own small security
company based in Brisbane.
After gaining life experience in jobs related to fraud investigation, by age
26 he was one of Queensland’s most recognised corporate fraud
That same year Dave says his life was upended when he heard about a triple
murder and double rape by a 15-year-old boy.
“To me that was very shocking and that’s when God started working
in my life,” Dave says. “I began to think about whether I was
going to do something about this.”
Having grown up attending church before his career-driven parents split up,
Dave decided to ask God what He wanted him to do.
Dave Gunter in earlier days
It became clear to Dave that God wanted him to speak out against the
underworld, but, before doing so, Dave knew he would have to deal with the
wrong things he had done.
“I was an angry, revengeful and pride-driven person,” Dave admits.
“When I was in the security industry, I had a lot of guys, big
Islanders, around me. You didn’t mess with us and get away with it. It
was very territorial.”
Dave says he felt a need for an honest, peaceful life, removed from all the
stress and torment his selfish life was producing.
“I said to God, ‘Take me out of that, I don’t want to be
that person anymore. I want to be a calm positive person.’ If God
hadn’t pulled me out of where I was and if I hadn’t made a choice
for Him I would probably be in jail.
“I gave up my highly paid career and began working as a prison officer
to research what was happening with our youth.
“God opened up my eyes as I worked with ‘the dead’. I
watched kids attempt suicide and roll around in their own nightmares in a
prison cell. I got to know the young man who committed the triple murder and
found out that the common denominator among those who commit huge murders is
Wanting to help young people make right choices, David pursued qualifications
in counselling. For the past four years he has travelled the nation as a youth
motivational speaker, life coach and mentor, challenging young people to stand
up and declare they will “roll with the good guys”, rather than
“roll with Carl”, as the Underbelly TV show based on the Victorian
gangland wars glorified the late Carl Williams.
Find about more about David and Tina’s work at www.davidgunter.com.au
They welcome offers of sponsorship, which will enable them to not have to charge booking fees.
When Dave first went into schools, it quickly became clear he had to stop
smoking, drinking and going to the pub, as he was representing God and needed
to set a good example to youth.
“To be a Christian of integrity I needed to surrender everything to
God,” Dave explains. “Leave all the burdens I had been carrying
around for so many years at the foot of the cross. The Bible says that Jesus
died on the cross for our sins, so we may live and have eternal
Just as Dave accepted that God had forgiven his sins through his faith in
Jesus, Dave was released to forgive the people who had wronged him in his
“When I learnt to forgive I wanted to tell everyone about it, because it
feels so good to let go of the past. As it is said, ‘Let go, let
God’. Give it to Him.
“It wasn’t until I gave everything to God that my life has now
gone in a better direction. And He brought me the woman of my dreams, my wife
In July 2010, Dave met Tina at a Christian event in Queensland, where they
both shared their stories. Until a similar turning point in 2003, Tina had
been one of Western Australia’s most wanted female criminals, who had
been jailed for drug dealing, armed robbery, stealing and high speed car
Since marrying in November, Dave and Tina have decided to share their life
stories Australia-wide through a raw presentation called
‘Gunterbelly’ that uncovers the inglorious side of the drug world
that is commonly glorified in the media.