Double killer's weapons project laid bare

Publish Date
Friday, 13 July 2018, 4:52PM
Quinn Patterson killed two women on a Northland property last year. (Photo / Supplied)
Quinn Patterson killed two women on a Northland property last year. (Photo / Supplied)

It’s been nearly a year since the Northland shootings and today a former soldier was sentenced for supplying military-style assault rifles to double-murderer Quinn Patterson, revealing more about what led to the killings of Wendy and Natanya Campbell. But while police remain tight-lipped and the Coroner’s office investigates, mystery still surrounds Patterson's actions. Sam Hurley revisits Mount Tiger Rd and uncovers more about the killer's weapons "project".

In 2010 Quinn Patterson moved to live alone on a rural property just north-east of Whangārei.

He had been living in a small cottage on a long, winding road with his partner after he'd moved from the idyllic setting of McLeod Bay, not more than 30 minutes' drive away.

But it was at his isolated Mount Tiger Rd home – next to a grey, dull shed surround by dense bush and gullies - that he would become known as the Northland gunman and a double-murderer.

Now, the Herald can reveal more details about the days and months leading up to the fatal shootings of Wendy Campbell and her daughter Natanya, and the wounding of Jeff Pipe.

Images of some the weapons in Patterson's arsenal - something he called his "project" - and previously unseen messages from the deranged killer can also now be published for the first time.

And, in court today, his relationship with his firearms supplier, a former solider, was laid bare.

Michael John Hayes admitted supplying Quinn Patterson with firearms. Photo / Sam Hurley

Michael John Hayes admitted supplying Quinn Patterson with firearms. Photo / Sam Hurley

Patterson's home is now mostly gone - destroyed by the fire which consumed the building and sent smoke billowing into the air after his gun battle with police.

He had been running a property maintenance business at the house and started to buy and sell cars - Mercedes-Benz's in particular - and made repairs to the home for his landlord.

A couple of years passed before he met Michael John Hayes.

Hayes was a former New Zealand Army solider and landmine and combat engineer - Patterson, a paranoid "doomsday prepper".

Patterson had responded to a letter drop by Hayes in the area as Hayes sought properties on which to trap possums.

Hayes had guns - lots of guns - including several high-powered rifles.

Today, he was sentenced to 12 months' home detention for supplying Patterson with military-style weapons.

The pair developed a friendship, and in 2016 Hayes agreed to be a referee for Patterson, who hadn't shown much interest in guns prior but was applying for a firearms licence.

The Whangārei salesman provided a letter in support of Patterson's application. However, in September 2016, the police rejected it.

Court documents show that Patterson's bid to be a lawful firearms holder was denied on the grounds that he was not a "fit and proper person" as defined in the Arms Act 1983.

Several times between March 1 and May 1 last year, Hayes went to Patterson's address with his son and sister's partner.

Despite Patterson's lack of a licence, he took with him weapons and ammunition.

The arms included military-style semi-automatic guns, such as a Saiga 7.62 calibre semi-automatic rifle, which had a flash suppressor and a free standing pistol grip.

The scene of the crime on Mount Tiger Rd, pictured nearly a year after the shootings. Photo / Sam Hurley

The scene of the crime on Mount Tiger Rd, pictured nearly a year after the shootings. Photo / Sam Hurley

Hayes also had a 30-round magazine for this rife.

A Chinese-made AK-47 replica 7.62 calibre assault rifle was also given to Patterson. It too had a flash suppressor, a free standing pistol grip and 30-round magazine.

And a Saiga 12 gauge military-style shotgun with a collapsible stock and free-standing pistol grip with a 10-round magazine was also handed over to Patterson.

Also included in the weapons deal was two Gevarm .22 calibre rifles and one Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun.

When Hayes visited Patterson the pair would shoot targets.

"He just shot on his back lawn by the sounds of it, you could hear it from here, you could hear it from everywhere," Patterson's neighbour Brad Walters recalled.

"They were big guns ... we're talking automatics, semi-automatics, big calibres. They sounded like canons, you could hear them going off with like 16 rounds."

While Hayes held a firearms licence from June 17, 2014 to August 8, 2017 - when a notice of revocation was served on him - he never held the appropriate endorsement for the military-style weapons.

Between September 9, 2016 and July 18 last year, Patterson was also using his TradeMe account to buy four shotguns, four .22 calibre rifles, and two 7.62 calibre AK-47-type weapons.

Patterson bought the guns under Hayes name and used his firearms licence.

In June last year, Wendy Campbell went to inspect Patterson's home with her "handyman".

Wendy told him she would be back again for another inspection, Patterson wrote in a June 16 email to his long-time partner Christina White.

"I'm being driven into a corner; my peace & quiet is fu**ed," Patterson wrote.

"Why won't people just leave me alone?"

On June 24, Patterson emailed White again: "She's decided to do an 'inspection' of my place this week and demanded a key or she'll change the door lock."

The next day he sent another email about his "project" - this time he included several images of his guns.

"It's a semi-auto 12 gauge shotty; shortened with a sharp teeth pain compliance device (muzzle break) added," he said.

"Good for sorting out the 'zombies' - en mass, as it spits out buck shot &/or solid slugs at the rate of about 200 rounds/minute."

Police visited Patterson during this time – not over the guns but to inspect a structure in his backyard.

An officer decided the "shooting platform" was a tenancy issue and left.

"The 2 of them even sent the cops here to find a 'building' here he saw on Google earth," Patterson wrote in another email on July 1.

"I asked the cops if they get paid extra for their 'building inspector' work? They're all around the bend! Absolutely insane. It's a strange feeling knowing I'm the sanest person (or so it seems)."

Wendy Campbell (right) and her daughter Natanya. Photo / Supplied

Wendy Campbell (right) and her daughter Natanya. Photo / Supplied

This time they were to install smoke alarms.

Patterson came to greet them as they approached the door.

Then he pulled out one of his guns and fired.

Natanya was hit at close range.

Patterson then turned his aim towards Pipe and fired again, hitting the contractor in his shoulder and back.

Pipe scrambled to his car, which Patterson was peppering with bullets as Pipe drove away to alert police.

Wendy stayed and went to the aid of her wounded daughter.

But Patterson closed on the pair and shot them several times from close range. He executed them.

Just after 10.50am a calm Patterson then rang White. "I've shot [them] ... they're dead on the front lawn," he told her.

"They're dead on the front lawn. I told them, they wouldn't leave me alone, they kept harassing me - I told them I'd shoot them. I have."

The Armed Offenders Squad attempted to reach the Campbells by forming a human shield around medically-trained officers, but were pinned down by Patterson's fire.

Police tried to negotiate with the killer for almost four hours before firing tear gas into the house.

Patterson responded with a volley of shots from a large calibre semi-automatic weapon.

The home then went up in flames.

Patterson's burned remains were later discovered at the scene.

Heavily armed tactical police moments after the shootings on July 26. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Heavily armed tactical police moments after the shootings on July 26. Photo / Michael Cunningham

After the firefight and blaze, 15 guns were recovered at Mount Tiger Rd, and 11 from Patterson's home.

Analysis of the cartridges from the murder weapon shows the Campbells were shot with a .22 calibre weapon, with a similar firing pin to the Gervarm .22 calibre rifle, court documents show.

Hayes was interviewed by police on the same day of the shootings.

Four more guns were recovered from his home.

He had initially claimed he left the weapons with the 55-year-old Patterson because he had a lack of storage at his house. He later claimed he received a call from his sister who needed help and asked Patterson if he could store the guns.

During his police interviews, Hayes also claimed Patterson had bought the guns.

The former soldier, however, said he felt "guilty and responsible" for what happened and told police he considered he had contributed to the deaths of the Campbells.

Hayes, 62, did not wish to be interviewed by the Herald about supplying Patterson with firearms or his relationship with the murderer.

When sentencing Hayes, Judge John McDonald said the modified weapons were designed to "hunt humans".

"The way you modified them there could be only one purpose, and that was to kill people," the judge said.

"They were rifles used by militaries around the world to kill people."

Originally from Christchurch, Hayes has worked in South East Asia for his company Phoenix Clearance, which specialised in removing landmines and unexploded bombs.

Quinn Patterson's home went up in flames following a firefight with police. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Quinn Patterson's home went up in flames following a firefight with police. (Photo / Michael Cunningham)

He served in the New Zealand Army before also serving in the Australian Army, which included a deployment to Cambodia to clear minefields.

His New Zealand military history, released to the Herald by the New Zealand Defence Force under the Official Information Act, shows Hayes was enlisted in the army from October 26, 1982 to August 13, 1988.

He rose to the rank of corporal and served in a variety of roles, including engineer fitter, instructor bridging, transport non-commissioned officer, and combat engineer.

Richard Annandale, the Crown Solicitor at Whangārei, said in court that given Hayes' military background, "he should have known better".

Operation Weather - the police investigation into Patterson and the shootings - has concluded but the findings of the inquiry will not be released until after the Coronial inquest.

The court head today that police, which will not comment until the Coroner's inquest, remain unsure of the exact weapon Patterson used to kill the Campbells.


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