Dean Thompson (2018-)
Parents: Rick Booth & Karen Thompson
Sibling: Kayla Booth (half)
Occupation: Labourer, garage assistant/apprentice mechanic, board shop assistant
Dean came to town as the leader of the River Boys summoned by Ash to help him find Robbo. He was soon making his presence felt at Kat’s wake and co-ordinating the other River Boys’ search efforts. Being in Summer Bay also led to a reunion with Willow, who he had had an on-off relationship with since their teens. He and Ash became suspicious of the Morgans after Justin was found in a car Robbo had been seen in and together attempted to interrogate Brody and Mason. They ended up seeing Robbo near the Morgan house and chasing him. Dean and the other River Boys delayed the police while Ash confronted Robbo on a clifftop. Dean was shocked to see his old friend Colby among the police: They had been River Boys together but Colby had disappeared after Dean tried to help him stop his stepfather Ross taking Colby’s mother Michelle and half-sister Bella out of town. The car they had stolen crashed, with Dean being found injured inside and keeping quiet about the fact Colby had been with him, suffering a knee injury that ended his sports career and spending time in jail.
Dean thanked Ash for giving him an excuse to hang out with the River Boys again, noting most of them had lives and families nowadays. However, thanks to being AWOL helping Ash, he lost his job and was evicted by his flatmates for not paying the rent. He tried to flog some stolen tools around town, then went to Willow’s caravan and waited in her bed only for her to turn up with her boyfriend Justin. Ash found him sleeping in his car and he explained he had taken the tools as compensation for unpaid wages. Ash returned them to Dean’s old boss Barry Johnson in exchange for the money, then arranged for himself and Dean to stay at the caravan park and gave Dean a job at the garage. However, Justin quickly sacked him on finding him asleep on the job, then accused him of stealing Willow’s Triumph. He was put out to be investigated by Colby but revealed that he had been doing a job for Ash at the time.
Still unwilling to forgive Colby, he convinced Willow to join him for a party on the beach but then collapsed fitting, with Willow and Colby helping work out he had drunk dodgy home brew. When Willow learned about Colby’s role in his accident, Dean talked her out of going to the police. He tried to cause trouble between Justin and Willow when they looked after Justin’s daughter Ava together and encouraged Ash to give negative testimony after being subpoenaed by Robbo’s lawyer Kurt, then made threatening remarks in front of Ava when he saw Justin talking to Kurt, prompting Willow to tell him to leave them alone. When Ava promptly went missing, Justin suspected Dean and attacked him but Dean offered to help look for her. After learning the Eastons were involved and wanted Willow to hand over the ransom money, Dean convinced Justin to go to the police and waited nearby, scuffling with Boyd Easton when he attacked Willow. Boyd drove his car at Dean and was shot by Colby, although the car still struck Dean a glancing blow, injuring his knee.
When Robbo was revealed as an undercover police officer, Dean joined Ash out in the bush and suggested he might need to stop looking for someone to blame and start grieving. He admitted he saw a psychiatrist in jail and Ash agreed to go away and get help. Dean was left conflicted over Colby saving him but supported him at the police enquiry and they began to rebuild their friendship. He returned to work at the garage and inadvertently helped out Ebony Harding’s plan to get revenge on Justin by agreeing to do a service for her. With Justin and Willow having recently broken up, he went for a drink with her where she kissed him in front of Justin. They ended up spending the night together and, although she regretted it the next morning, he convinced her to carry on going out with him. When he bragged to Justin about it, Justin punched and fired him.
When the press outted Colby as an ex-River Boy, he told Dean he had to stay away from him. He tried to hide a drunken Colby from the police but Colby showed himself to them.With no job, Dean was reliant on Willow paying his rent. He learned from Jasmine that Willow was stealing in order to pay the rent and began to realise Willow had a gambling addiction when he learned she had lost $3200 on a bet after stealing from Ziggy and Brody’s wedding fund. He borrowed money from loan shark Brett Dwyer to return the stolen money before anyone reported it missing. When someone planted the phone used to frame Colby in Willow’s van, Dean stopped Colby reporting her by threatening to tell the police the truth about the car crash. However, it was him and Willow that found Colby after the real culprit, Ebony Harding, had injected him with a muscle relaxant. They and got him to hospital, although Dean was frustrated that none of the River Boys were willing to help an ex-cop. He drunkenly trashed his caravan, resulting in Alf throwing him and Willow out and them squatting at the Diner flat.
Brett then demanded the money back and Dean convinced Willow to set up a credit card skimmer at Salt. They broke in after hours to retrieve it but Dean ended up knocking Alf over and leaving him injured. Willow called an ambulance for him and binned the skimmer, but Dean retrieved it after receiving a beating and a demand for $6000 from Brett. Willow was furious when she found out and tried to sell her car; Dean stopped her but this merely resulted in her gambling again so he went to Justin for help. He broke up with Willow and told Brett he’d work off the debt, refusing Justin’s offer of work at the garage. He collected a bag of money that Brett wanted him to look after which he managed to hide from Robbo and Colby before taking to the city. On his return, he again turned to the forged credit cards to raise money but Ziggy convinced him to destroy them. Brett told him to get the keys and location of the safe for Salt and act as look-out for a robbery, threatening to hurt Willow if he didn’t. Dean went to Colby and Willow for help, managing to hide Brody and Ziggy until the police (alerted by Colby) arrived and arrested everyone, and was released when another gang member fingered Brett as the ringleader.
He then saw Willow being taken away for questioning over the surf club break-in so interrupted her questioning to confess to the break-in, credit card skimming and assault on Alf, saying Willow didn’t know about it until afterwards. He felt unable to carry on living with Colby, while receiving a hostile reception from Alf and also from Irene, who had been among those who had their credit cards copied. He apologised to them and, after Robbo arranged him a motel room for the night, left town. Since he was in danger of missing his bail check-in, Willow sent him a message saying she’d confess if he didn’t turn up. He returned on time and Justin took charge of the situation, arranging Dean a lawyer and convincing Alf to let him stay at the caravan park again. Ziggy encouraged him to also take the job at the garage, where she and Justin were impressed with his car knowledge and suggested he start an apprenticeship. Ziggy joined him in doing a stock take and proceeded to get drunk, which Brody and Colby blamed Dean for. However, this encouraged him to accept the apprenticeship offer.
He began to give advice to Ryder, telling him not to ruin his friendship with Raffy in order to keep his relationship with Coco going. He received his court date and began sleeping with the female caravan park guests, believing he would soon be in jail. One of his targets was Chelsea Campbell, only for him to discover she was both a police officer and Colby’s ex. He was furious to learn Willow had confessed to her part in things and caused a disturbance at the Morgans’, which resulted in the police being called and Chelsea putting him in the cells for a night. He reluctantly accepted Willow’s decision and defended Chelsea when a guy on the beach made comments about her. He continued to hang out with Ryder but also told him to appreciate Alf and Leah looking out for him. When he rang his own mother Karen to tell her about his court appearance, she hung up on him. He proceeded to get drunk and nearly miss court, needing Willow threatening to stay away with him and some straight talking from Justin to sort him out. He was given six month community service and a good behaviour bond but remained in a bad place: He resented the fact that Willow had convinced him to cut ties with Karen when she threatened him with a knife after he got out of prison. He regaled Ryder with stories of the River Boys’ hideout and its secret tunnel and, when Leah and John confronted him about Ryder, Raffy and Coco all being missing, realised they had gone there. Although he helped rescue Raffy from a tunnel collapse, he received serves from both Justin and Colby.
He went round Karen’s and left her a note but walked away on seeing she had a man with her. However, she then turned up at the Morgans’ house and Dean left community service to see her. John threatened to report him which resulted in Karen trying to run John over (with Dean pushing him out of the way) and then crashing nearby. He took her to hospital but was unable to talk her into getting a psych assessment. He hid her from the police in his caravan and tried to get her to see the doctor, but she knocked him unconscious with a frying pan and left the gas on. They were rescued by Willow and Chelsea, and Dean was convinced to get Karen scheduled.
Dean went with Colby to clear Karen’s things out of the house and discovered a letter from old AFL star Rick Booth, who turned out to be Dean’s father: He had been married and had bought the house for them on condition they stay out of his life. When a man broke into the house claiming Karen owed him money, Dean decided neither he nor Karen was going back to Mangrove River. Dean decided to go looking for Rick, reluctantly taking a runaway Ryder with him. He briefly met his half-sister Kayla but Rick didn’t want him to have anything to do with his family. Dean took Ryder home and burned Rick’s letter. Willow convinced him to give Rick another chance but Rick paid him $50,000 to stay away.
Willow then informed him that Justin had asked her to choose between them and she couldn’t hang out with him anymore. When she refused to talk to him during community service, he arranged to do it in Yabbie Creek and quit his job at the garage. This put his parole at risk so Ziggy told him he had a job at the board shop. He arrived to find Ben knew nothing about it but convinced him to employ him on a commission only basis. Ben soon trusted him to keep an eye on the place alone, despite it sending Ziggy into a panic, and he set up a display outside the shop. He decided to use the money he got from Rick to help Colby hire a private detective, Ray Holsten, to look for Bella, with Colby asking him to be his best man at his wedding to Chelsea in return. Holsten contacted him after getting a report that Ross had visited Karen a year after he disappeared and Dean tried to get to see Karen at the hospital. Colby and Chelsea managed to arrange it and, during the visit, Dean learned Karen had been diagnosed with a schizoaffective disorder. She revealed Ross had told her he’d killed Michelle and directed Dean to find a dictaphone among her belongings, which included a recording of Ross admitting to killing Colby’s father.
Colby recruited Dean to find Bella behind the police’s backs after getting the address and Dean had to restrain him from charging in and confronting Ross. Bella proved less than pleased to see them, firing at them with a crossbow, and with her refusing to trust them and Ross on his way back, they ended up kidnapping her. Dean had to take charge, getting Bella to the old River Boy hideout while they tried to talk her round and convincing Colby to play her the recording. He helped Ben open up the new board shop at the surf club but was distracted trying to get Chelsea to give Colby another chance, although he was angry to find out she had told the police Bella was with Colby. He offered to help Ziggy see whether Simone was interested in Brody by chatting her up, but when Brody warned him off he was left feeling it might not be one-sided.
Knowing John didn’t trust him to lock up the surf club after Ben left him the keys, Dean made a point of staying behind until late at night doing a stock take, resulting in John staying as well. He quickly worked out Ryder was sheltering Bella when she ran away and learned Colby was planning to move away after the wedding. He soon after found his feelings for Willow resurfacing and told Willow to let Justin know whether they were still together or not. He helped organise the wedding at short notice with help from some old River Boy contacts where Willow confirmed she and Justin had broken up. He arranged a fireworks display at the reception and admitted to Colby he was hoping he could get back with Willow.