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Waitākere victims of fatal ram attack named

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 19 Apr 2024, 10:01am
Police are investigating the deaths of a couple at a rural West Auckland property. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Police are investigating the deaths of a couple at a rural West Auckland property. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Waitākere victims of fatal ram attack named

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 19 Apr 2024, 10:01am

A rural Auckland couple believed to have been killed by a ram on their hobby farm are Helge Hansen and Gaye Hansen, the Herald understands. 

The retired West Auckland couple had lived on their Anzac Valley Rd hobby farm for eight years where they ran sheep, chicken and cattle. 

The attack has left family members in shock, while police were confronted by the rogue ram in a paddock when arriving at the property, before shooting it dead. 

Police confirmed a “ram was in the paddock at the time we were notified of the deaths at 7.30am today [Thursday]”. 

Police are investigating the deaths of a couple at a rural West Auckland property. Photo / Jason OxenhamPolice are investigating the deaths of a couple at a rural West Auckland property. Photo / Jason Oxenham 

“Another party at the scene suffered a minor injury after being attacked by this ram,” police said. 

“Once our staff arrived at the scene they, too, were confronted and approached by the ram. On undertaking a risk assessment, the ram was shot and died at the scene.” 

Police said they were continuing to investigate the couple’s deaths at the Waitākere property in Anzac Valley Rd. 

“Police are continuing to investigate on behalf of the coroner, to establish the full set of circumstances around what occurred in the paddock. 

Police at the Anzac Valley Rd property in West Auckland after a couple were believed killed by a ram. Photo / Jason OxenhamPolice at the Anzac Valley Rd property in West Auckland after a couple were believed killed by a ram. Photo / Jason Oxenham 

“As part of this process, post-mortem examinations are due to be carried out tomorrow [Friday].” 

A scene examination took place on Thursday and has now been completed, police said. 

The Herald earlier reported the pair were found dead in the paddock by their son who went looking for them on Thursday morning after he hadn’t heard from them, a family spokesman said. 

Police at the property in West Auckland after the deaths of two people. Photo / Jason OxenhamPolice at the property in West Auckland after the deaths of two people. Photo / Jason Oxenham 

Family member Dean Burrell said it was his mother’s sister and her husband who died. He said the couple were both in their early 80s, retired, and had lived at the property for eight years. 

“Unfortunately, they both lost their lives in a tragic accident. They are nice people and didn’t deserve this. 

“Everyone’s in shock as to what’s happened. They’re very upset. I feel like I was dreaming it actually, it was a bit of shock, being told what had happened and I just didn’t believe it.” 

Burrell’s father had phoned him to tell him the news. 

“So I’ve come down here to support my cousins and the wider family.” 

It is understood police believe the man went out to check on the ram and did not return. His wife later went out to check and did not return. 

Family member Dean Burrell speaks to the media after a ram killed his aunt and her husband at a West Auckland property. Photo / Jason OxenhamFamily member Dean Burrell speaks to the media after a ram killed his aunt and her husband at a West Auckland property. Photo / Jason Oxenham 

Burrell said the couple were hobby farmers. 

”They had some sheep, some chickens and some cattle I believe.” 

“Two people have been located deceased in a paddock at the Anzac Valley Rd property,” police said. 

One neighbour who did not wish to be named told the Herald she saw the police shoot the ram. 

“I saw them shoot the ram, and I put two and two together.” 

She said the couple were lovely and genuine people enjoying their retirement. 

Another neighbour said it was not unusual to see the pair attending to their sheep. 

“He was an active person — he goes and checks his stock maybe twice a day, morning and night,” he said. 

“He was always out there feeding chickens, cutting firewood, cutting trees.” 

One neighbour said hand-reared rams can be unpredictable and aggressive creatures. 

“Never have one, people need to know. Never trust a hand-reared ram,” she said. 

Police at the Anzac Valley Rd property in West Auckland after the deaths of two people. Photo / Jason OxenhamPolice at the Anzac Valley Rd property in West Auckland after the deaths of two people. Photo / Jason Oxenham 

Another neighbour who has known the elderly couple for many years and who asked not to be named described them as a “very quiet couple”. 

He said he was unaware they had a ram on the property, but he knew they ran sheep on the lifestyle block. 

The neighbour said the man who lived at the property had been farming all his life. 

”He was a very good stockman,” the neighbour said. 

The neighbour said he was surprised to hear the couple may have been killed by a ram given their experience with animals. 

There were several police vehicles parked down a long driveway at the property. 

Police at the Anzac Valley Rd property. Photo / Jason OxenhamPolice at the Anzac Valley Rd property. Photo / Jason Oxenham 

Police officers were seen carrying bags as they walked towards the road away from the property. 

The Anzac Valley Rd property has a two-storey house, and six people were gathered on the deck of the building on Thursday. 

A neighbour who lives across the road from where the bodies were found said her husband took their dog for a walk on Thursday morning only to be confronted with many police and an ambulance in the property, a lifestyle block. 

They did not hear anything overnight before police arrived, she said. 

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here. 

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