Vincent Patterson (1997-2002; 2004)
Episodes: 2196–2198, 2281–3225, 3865
Parents: Ralph & Stella Patterson
Marital Status: Leah Poulos (2001-2002)
Children: VJ Patterson
Vinnie was first seen as a rich kid buzzing Travis Nash’s boat on his water ski. He lent the vehicle to Aaron Welles and when Travis saw him getting off it, he assumed he was responsible for the earlier incident. Vinnie then pestered Travis again only this time he felt into the water and when Travis fished him out he quickly realised he wasn’t Aaron.
Vinnie reappeared some months later and started dating Justine Welles.Neither Justine’s foster mother Pippa nor foster siblings Tiegan and Sam were entirely happy about the relationship, especially when Vinnie persuaded Justine to join him in supporting a racist politician (despite her half-brother Aaron being mixed race). When Travis and Rebecca took over care of Justine, they weren’t happy about Vinnie’s constant presence either.However, it soon became clear there was more to Vinnie than met the eye. After his and Justine’s attempt to consummate their relationship in the back of his car was interrupted by a group of hoons, Justine asked permission for him to stay over and Travis and Rebecca reluctantly agreed. However, Vinnie admitted that despite his reputation as a ladies’ man he was still a virgin and he and Justine decided to wait. That didn’t mean Justine could take her eye off him though; when Gypsy Nash arrived in town, Vinnie instantly started flirting with her, earning a punch from Justine.
When his family lost their money because of tax evasion, Vinnie started on a seemingly endless series of money making schemes and failed jobs. He became the manager of a band comprising almost all of the Bay’s teens and persuaded Donald Fisher to hire them for the school dance. He got a job on Travis’ boat but was fired after he took it out on his own and had an accident. He worked as a coffin salesman for a time but ended up losing that job after selling Alf a display model. The only job he did manage to hold down was a part-time stripping gig, which came in handy when he won a triathlon at the surf carnival and learned that his ‘prize’ included a job with Bonza Burgers, who had sponsored the event. He did everything he could to make his unpopular boss Jason fire him and eventually succeeded by turning up for a stripping gig in his company uniform.
He moved in with Jesse at Travis’ old house and persuaded Sally to move in with them, hoping she would do the housework. Instead, she organised a roster but Vinnie got around it by hiring Justine to do his share. He tried to arrange a date for Jesse by getting Rachel to ring up a lonely hearts programme on the radio. When a stackload of letters arrived and Jesse wasn’t interested, Vinnie decided to pretend to be Jesse and take one of the girls out. Justine found out and broke up with him. Vinnie tried to win her over by proposing to her but when he went to see her in the school play he found her kissing Tom Nash backstage.
Vinnie stood against Alf in the election for surf club president and although Alf won he made Vinnie his vice-president. He was initially offended when Vinnie started calling him ‘Stewie’ but after Ailsa convinced him it was a sign of affection he decided to tolerate it. Meanwhile, Vinnie arranged a date with a girl named Barbie but was worried his lack of experience would show. Sally managed to smooth things over for him and to people’s surprise he seemed more interested in talking about her than about Barbie. Then Sally went out with a uni classmate, Tony, but when he asked Vinnie to give them some space so they could sleep together Vinnie threw him out for disrespecting her. In the 1998 finale, Vinnie and Sally shared their first kiss.
They spent the next few weeks on holiday together while pretending to everyone they’d gone to different places.They kept their relationship secret for a while when they came back, which was complicated further by the fact that Justine suddenly decided she wanted Vinnie back and didn’t believe his claims to have a new girlfriend, until Jesse walked in on them kissing. They decided to go public by going to the Diner together but unknown to them Jesse had primed Alf and the others and they didn’t react. Vinnie finally kissed Sally in front of everyone just as Justine walked in. As the pair’s relationship progressed, Sally became worried she was pregnant. Vinnie was initially terrified by the idea but ended up coming round to the idea of a Mini-Vinnie and was disappointed when it was a false alarm.
Vinnie would end up causing trouble for Sally when he set up a webcam on his computer and left it on when he went out. One of the viewers liked the look of Sally and started pestering her with prank phone calls. They eventually got rid of him by having Joel appear in front of the camera in full police uniform and warn the caller if he persisted they would track him down.
Vinnie was still having trouble finding work and persuaded a magazine to let him write an astrology column. He made some of his predictions come true by hiding a letter for Sally and letting down Alf’s tyres. He was asked for a private consultation and arrived at the Diner to find it was Marilyn. He sat behind her and told her not to turn round but then Jesse arrived and asked him who he was talking to. Marilyn stormed out and when Vinnie went after her he witnessed her going into labour and drove her to the hospital. A grateful Marilyn named her son Byron Vincent, although Vinnie would have preferred Vincent Byron.
Vinnie was then contacted by a solicitor and told he was being offered $50,000 if he went back to school and got a high enough mark to attend uni. He quickly signed up but had difficulty readjusting to school life, especially wearing a uniform. On one occasion, he turned up with a uniform painted onto his bare torso by Hayley as part of her art project.
When a cove near the Bay was turned into a nudist beach, Vinnie decided to try it out and even persuaded Sally to join him. He ended up with an all-over burn and, even more worryingly, whilst applying some lotion Sally found a lump. He was persuaded to go and see James who confirmed he had testicular cancer. Vinnie agreed to surgery but wanted it kept secret and was annoyed when Jesse and Gypsy found out. In the end, a talk from Sally persuaded him to trust his friends and when Chloe arrived at the hospital to see James he told her everything. James recommended radiotherapy as a follow-up but Vinnie persuaded him and Sally to let him try alternative therapies such as healthy eating. However, he couldn’t stick to the diet and ended up agreeing to the radiotherapy after all.
Vinnie had assumed Don was his mysterious benefactor and was shocked to discover it was his estranged father Ralph. Ralph turned up with a new business idea but it turned out to be a con and he nearly took Colleen’s savings. Vinnie realised he wasn’t going to see the $50,000 and didn’t bother with his exams, ending up with one of the lowest results on record.
Having finished school and with Sally having broken up with him, Vinnie found himself lacking in direction again. After giving some advice on photography, he wondered if he could make a career out of it and Sally lent him the money for a digital camera. He couldn’t afford a studio though and was reduced to offering to take photographs of people on the beach and getting Justine and Gypsy to pose for him. He organised a 21st birthday party for Sally as an overture to getting back with her but she made it clear it was over, although she did say he didn’t have to pay for the camera. While out surfing, Vinnie spotted a rip and told Shauna about it but she ignored him and nearly caused a major incident. She apologised to Vinnie and offered him a job as a lifesaver which he accepted.
For the next year or so, Vinnie would find himself with a revolving door of housemates. First Jesse moved out and was replaced with Tom. Then, while Sally was away, Vinnie lent her room to Leah Poulos, who he met while she was hitch-hiking. Both Vinnie and Tom took a shine to Leah but Vinnie backed off to give his friend a chance. However, it soon became clear she was only interested in Vinnie and it was Tom’s turn to back off. She didn’t feel comfortable dating someone she was living with however and so moved in with Shauna. Sally soon followed and when Tom moved away too Vinnie found himself sharing with Joel and Gypsy. Then Joel moved out and was replaced first by Harry Reynolds then by Mitch McColl.
In the meantime, Vinnie’s relationship with Leah was progressing, despite a few bumps. Alf initially warned Leah not to trust him, until Duncan and his friend Nick vandalised the surf club and it was Vinnie who talked Alf out of resigning in shame. He didn’t make the best impression on her father Theo when he turned up just as Vinnie was showing Leah his stripping routine. Her brother Chris bonded with Vinnie by dragging him out to soccer matches, leaving Leah worried of being a sports widow, but Vinnie eventually admitted it wasn’t really him.
When Leah trod on a needlestick while helping clear the beach, she and Vinnie were both terrified and he ended up proposing to her. In the end, she told him to ask her again in three months after she got the all clear. While they were waiting, Vinnie was involved in the SES rescue operations during the mudslide. A photographer asked him to take some pictures if he had a chance and when he found himself momentarily spare Vinnie took a shot of his colleague Gavin Campbell. Soon after, Gavin was killed when the Stewarts’ house collapsed.The photo adorned the front pages but Alf, Colleen, Shauna and even Leah were unhappy that Vinnie had effectively profited from Gavin’s death. In the end, he found an unlikely saviour in Donald Fisher, who told them journalists had a responsibility to capture moments of history and it was a fitting tribute to Gavin. Some months later, Vinnie won an award for the photo and was offered a cadetship but decided to stay as a lifesaver, feeling he’d rather be the one doing the saving than the one taking photographs of it.
Leah’s three months were nearly up but Vinnie was shaken by the return of her ex-fiance Ted, who made it clear he didn’t think Vinnie was good enough for her. Vinnie felt Leah wouldn’t want to marry him and preferred Ted, a possibility that actually only existed in the minds of Ted and Colleen. When Leah got the all clear and then broke down in tears when Vinnie didn’t propose, Ted explained the situation to Vinnie and he hired Harry’s plane to drag the words ‘Marry me, Leah’ over the Bay.
Unusually, the wedding went off with barely a hitch and Leah moved in with Vinnie. Although he’d managed to get rid of Gypsy and Mitch, they soon found themselves sharing their marital home with Leah’s brother Alex and, briefly, Vinnie’s cousin Skye. Ironically, even though they’d waited until they got married before sleeping together, Leah became pregnant almost straightaway. Worried about money, Vinnie took a job as a children’s entertainer but when Sally’s car was stolen while in his care, he ended up owing her $300 for damages. He tried to organise a ‘star colours’ party at the house but not only did he needed to be rescued by Leah, one of his guests took off with the VCR. When Shauna was forced to give up the head lifeguard’s position on health grounds, Vinnie assumed he would automatically replace her and was annoyed when Alf insisted on advertising. He refused to apply and was shocked when one of the committee told him he was on the short list, since Leah had applied for him. Fortunately, he swallowed his pride enough to accept the job.
Vinnie was suspicious when Ralph returned, claiming he was dying and wanted to set Vinnie up in business. They organised a company buying up and selling on stock from bankrupt companies but then Ralph disappeared with all the money and Vinnie realised it had been another con. Although Theo bailed Vinnie and Leah out financially, Vinnie found himself investigated for fraud and reluctantly gave a statement against Ralph. It didn’t do him much good as, on the day Leah gave birth to their son Vincent Junior (VJ), Vinnie was arrested and charged.
Aware that things didn’t look good, Vinnie tried to avoid bonding with his son but in the end decided to grab whatever time he had. In court, unable to produce Ralph and with his name and signature on all the company documents and cheques, a guilty verdict was inevitable and Vinnie was sent to jail for two years for corporate fraud, leaving behind video messages for Leah and VJ. He asked Leah not to visit him and instead pretend he was away on business; he would write to her as if that was what he was doing.
In the 2002 finale, Leah received a phone call saying that Vinnie had been killed in a fire at the prison. With his body unrecognisable, Jesse soon began to wonder if he had survived and although his first apparent reappearance turned out to be a guilt-ridden Ralph, in 2004 Peter Baker confirmed the rumours were true. Vinnie had given evidence against some of the people he was in prison with and his death had been faked so he could go into witness protection. It was supposed to be temporary but now it was clear it wouldn’t be safe for him to emerge and he had asked Leah and VJ to join him. Leah considered it but by then she was seeing Dan Baker and elected to remain in the Bay.
On VJ’s third birthday, his party was visited by a stranger in a bear costume who kept the children entertained throughout.It wasn’t until after he had left that Leah learned it had been Vinnie and he had left her a letter telling her to get on with her life.
In early 2010, Elijah Johnson arrived in town with the news that Vinnie had been fatally injured in a farm accident eighteen months previous. He had spent his last days telling him about his life in Summer Bay, and how he regretted not being there for Leah and VJ. Elijah took Leah and VJ to visit Vinnie’s grave, where they found he had insisted on being buried under his own name and mentioning them in the inscription.