Officers killed by criminal acts

New Zealand Police honours and remembers officers killed by a criminal act while carrying out their duties.

  • Senior Constable Len Snee

    Died: 
    7th May 2009
    Napier

    Senior Constable Len Snee was fatally wounded on 7 May 2009 while carrying out a routine search warrant at the home of Jan Molenaar in Napier.

    Two other police officers and a member of the public were also shot and seriously wounded by Molenaar. The member of the public tried to intervene to protect the officers.

    A stand-off ensued, which lasted for 51 hours. During this time Molenaar used an arsenal of weapons, mostly high powered military-style rifles and shotguns, to shoot at police and the public.

    Molenaar died from a single gunshot wound to the head that the Coroner confirmed appeared to be self-inflicted.

    Photograph of Senior Constable Len Snee.
  • Sergeant Don Wilkinson

    Died: 
    11th September 2008
    Mangere

    Sergeant Don Wilkinson was fatally shot while carrying out undercover duties in Mangere in the early hours of Thursday 11 September 2008. He was one of two plainclothes officers shot while trying to install a tracking device on a vehicle outside a suspected P lab.

    Two men were arrested in relation to the attack. A 32-year-old man was charged with murder and a 34-year-old man was charged with assault.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Sergeant Don Wilkinson.
  • Sergeant Derek Wootton

    Died: 
    11th July 2008
    Titahi Bay

    Sergeant Wootton, 52, was working night shift when a report was received of an alleged serious assault and carjacking. Police patrols saw the vehicle near Porirua and a pursuit ensued to Titahi Bay, north of Porirua. 

    In an effort to stop the vehicle, Sergeant Wootton laid road spikes in a suburban street in the early hours of 11 July. Tragically he was struck as the vehicle went over the spikes. Despite the best efforts of colleagues and ambulance officers, he died at the scene.

    A 32-year-old man appeared in the Porirua District Court on 11 July charged with dangerous driving, dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop after a motor accident. He was also charged with aggravated robbery, the theft of a Honda Prelude and kidnapping a 16-year-old youth.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Sergeant Derek Wootton.
  • Detective Constable Duncan Taylor

    Died: 
    5th July 2002
    Rongotea, Manawatu

    Detective Constable Taylor, 39, was shot and killed when he and his partner attempted to stop a juvenile to question him about a property offence. The constables saw the youth driving a car at Rongotea and attempted to stop him. The boy drove to a nearby home and stopped. As Detective Constable Taylor got out of his vehicle the boy opened fire, fatally wounding him. His partner then attempted to flee on foot but was struck in the thigh as she ran for cover.

    The boy then ran into the home and held three people hostage for several hours. After the hostages escaped tear gas was fired into the home, causing the boy to come out and fire more shots. When the boy came out of the home a second time he was taken into custody. He was charged with murder, attempted murder and other charges.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Detective Constable Duncan Taylor.
  • Constable Lester Murray Stretch

    Died: 
    26th May 1999
    Mangakino, Waikato

    In Mangakino, Constable Stretch attended to reports of a burglary at a local store. Upon his arrival he located Carlos Namana and chased him from the store.

    Namana was caught at the entrance to the local hospital, but he overpowered Constable Stretch and beat him to death. He died at the scene of extensive head injuries.

    Namana was arrested the following day and charged with murder. He pleaded guilty and received life imprisonment, with a minimum non-parole period of 16 years.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable Lester Stretch.
  • Constable Glenn Arthur McKibbin

    Died: 
    21st April 1996
    Flaxmere, Hastings

    Constable Glenn McKibbin was shot by an occupant of a passing vehicle while standing beside his patrol car In Flaxmere. After an extensive search the suspect was located in an orchard in Havelock North. Terence Thompson, a former soldier, was shot in a standoff with police.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable Glenn McKibbin.
  • Sergeant Stewart Graeme Guthrie

    Died: 
    13th November 1990
    Aramoana, near Dunedin. Posthumously awarded George Cross 1992.

    On 13 November 1990 at Aramoana (a seaside resort near Dunedin), a man ran amok with a firearm killing 12 people and wounding many more.

    Sergeant Guthrie, the sole duty officer at Port Chalmers Police Station, went immediately to the resort. When he arrived he gathered together another police constable and both of them (now armed) went after the gunman. They finally located him inside his house, so the police constable took position at the front of the house whilst Sergeant Guthrie took position at the rear of the property; the more dangerous of the two positions. During this time, Sergeant Guthrie had kept his control fully informed of the latest situation.

    The gunman then left the house by the front entrance and went towards the police constable. When challenged by this officer, the gunman retreated back into the house. Meanwhile, Sergeant Guthrie had taken cover in a cottage next to the gunman's house. Suddenly the gunman appeared out of the rear of the house. Sergeant Guthrie challenged the gunman, and fired a shot into the air. The gunman responded by firing a series of shots, which killed Sergeant Guthrie.

    Sergeant Guthrie was posthumously awarded the George Cross. The citation was published in the London Gazette on 18 February 1992.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Sergeant Stewart Guthrie.
  • Senior Constable Peter Morris Umbers

    Died: 
    27th May 1990
    Ranfurly, Central Otago. Posthumously awarded George Medal.

    In Ranfurly, Central Otago, Peter Umbers was bashed with his own PR24 baton when he stopped Richard Thomas Lakich, a robbery suspect. Lakich pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    For his bravery in the execution of his duty, Senior Constable Umbers was posthumously awarded the George Medal.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Senior Constable Peter Umbers.
  • Traffic Officer Robin James Dudding

    Died: 
    7th April 1986
    Rotorua. Posthumously awarded George Medal.

    Robin Dudding was shot dead in Rotorua after he was taken hostage at Lake Rotoiti by Ross Kameta, 18, who fired shots at police. Kameta wanted to be taken to the Rotorua Police Station, but was instead driven away from the city by Traffic Officer Dudding.

    Armed police located Traffic Officer Dudding's patrol vehicle near Hamurana. After disabling Kameta, they located Dudding's body in the vehicle.

    Kameta was charged with the murder of Dudding and attempted murder of another police officer. He was found not guilty due to insanity and detained in a mental institution.

    For his bravery in preventing the gunman from carrying out his murderous intentions, Traffic Officer Dudding was posthumously awarded the George Medal.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Traffic Officer Robin Dudding.
  • Traffic Officer Barry Yorston Gibson

    Died: 
    13th June 1977
    New Plymouth

    On 6 June 1977 (Queen's Birthday Weekend), in New Plymouth, Barry Gibson stopped a car being driven by Murray Morgan Gillespie. For no apparent reason, Gillespie assaulted Traffic Officer Gibson, breaking his jaw in two places and severely concussing him.

    Gibson never regained consciousness and died of head injuries a week later.

    Gillespie was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years imprisonment.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Traffic Officer Barry Gibson.
  • Constable Peter William Murphy

    Died: 
    25th September 1976
    Invercargill

    While committing a burglary of a sports shop in Invercargill Harry Robert Thompson, 18, shot Constable Murphy, who had been called by a witness. Three other officers also attended.

    Thompson was located about two and a half hours later with a stolen loaded .22 rifle, and was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1986 he was paroled.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable Peter Murphy.
  • Sergeant Gilbert Peter Arcus

    Died: 
    4th February 1970
    Tauranga

    In Tauranga, while he was trying to placate a mentally disturbed woman, Sergeant Arcus was assaulted and pushed to the floor, striking his head. He suffered a fracture to the base of the skull and died an hour later.

    The woman was charged with manslaughter, but was declared insane.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Sergeant Gilbert Arcus.
  • Detective Constable Ronald Bernard (Bernie) Hill

    Died: 
    5th May 1969
    Palmerston North

    After questioning a witness to a burglary, Detective Constables Hill and Daysh were driving her back to Shannon when their patrol car was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Detective Constable Daysh and the witness survived but Detective Constable Hill died instantly. The offending car was not warranted or registered and was driven by an unlicensed and intoxicated youth who also died at the scene.

    Constable Ronald Bernard (Bernie) Hill
  • Constable Donald Richard Stokes

    Died: 
    15th August 1966
    Dunedin

    On 14 August 1966, while trying to prevent the escape of two prisoners, Constable Stokes was assaulted and beaten to death with a broom handle at the Dunedin Police cells.

    James Thomas Wilson, aged 23, admitted to the murder and Colin Paul Morrison, aged 19, was found guilty of murder. They were both sentenced to life imprisonment.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable Donald Stokes.
  • Constable James Thomas Richardson

    Died: 
    3rd February 1963
    Lower Hutt

    In Lower Hutt, when answering a call to attend a domestic dispute, Constable Richardson was shot along with Constable Schultz, while still in their vehicle outside the address of Bruce Douglas McPhee. They both died instantly.

    McPhee, a toolmaker aged 27, was convicted of the two murders and sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent 11 years in prison and was paroled in 1974.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable James Richardson.
  • Constable Bryan Leslie Schultz

    Died: 
    3rd February 1963
    Lower Hutt

    In Lower Hutt, when answering a call to a domestic dispute, Constable Schultz was shot along with Constable Richardson, while still in their vehicle outside the address of Douglas McPhee. They both died instantly.

    McPhee, a toolmaker aged 27, was convicted of the two murders and sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent 11 years in prison and was paroled in 1974.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable Bryan Schultz.
  • Detective Sergeant Neville Wilson Power

    Died: 
    6th January 1963
    Waitakere Ranges, West Auckland. Posthumously awarded Queen's Police Medal

    In the Waitakere Ranges, West Auckland, Detective Sergeant Power attended a shooting with Detective Inspector Chalmers.

    They were both shot by Victor George Wasmuth, who also shot dead a neighbour. Wasmuth was later declared insane.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Detective Sergeant Neville Power.
  • Detective Inspector Wallace Chalmers

    Died: 
    6th January 1963
    Waitakere Ranges, West Auckland. Posthumously awarded Queen's Police Medal

    In the Waitakere Ranges, West Auckland, Detective Inspector Chalmers attended a shooting with Detective Sergeant Power.

    They were both shot by Victor George Wasmuth, who also shot dead a neighbour. Wasmuth was later declared insane.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Detective Inspector Wallace Chalmers.
  • Constable Louis Hekenui (Heke) Bidois

    Died: 
    24th May 1955
    Te Whaiti

    Constable Bidois was attempting to take two drunk and disorderly men into custody as they were fighting outside a dance at Te Whaiti on 07/05/1949. They struck him over the head with a bottle, causing a severe brain injury. The offenders were convicted of obstructing police, casting offensive matter and assaulting police. Constable Bidois never recovered and eventually died from his injuries.

    Constable Louis Hekenui (Heke) Bidois
  • Sergeant William Shore Hughes

    Died: 
    27th May 1951
    Otaki

    In Otaki, at an armed domestic dispute, while trying to protect the female occupants within a house, Sergeant Hughes was shot in the wrist by Noema Raana Rika.

    A short time later Rika gained access to the premises and killed all the occupants before turning the gun upon himself.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Sergeant William Hughes.
  • Traffic Officer John Kehoe

    Died: 
    31st January 1949
    Whakatane

    In Whakatane, after pursuing a motorcycle from the main street to outside the town for excess speed, Traffic Officer Kehoe was shot several times by Richard Angus McGill, aged 19.

    McGill's body was located a week later in an orchard in Awakeri, a small settlement outside Whakatane, having shot himself.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Traffic Officer John Kehoe.
  • Constable Edward Mark Best

    Died: 
    11th October 1941
    Koiterangi, near Hokitika

    On 8 October 1941 in Koiterangi (now Kowhitirangi) near Hokitika on the West Coast, Constable Best, Sergeant Cooper and Constables Jordan and Tulloch were shot while trying to apprehend Stanley Graham. Best died three days later, the others died instantly.

    Graham, a West Coast farmer, shot the police officers and three civilians after refusing to hand over his firearms.

    This was the largest manhunt in New Zealand and after 12 days seven people had died, including Graham. An eighth victim died eighteen months later from gunshot wounds that they had received.

    Photograph of Constable Edward Best walking down a street.
  • Sergeant William Cooper

    Died: 
    8th October 1941
    Koiterangi, near Hokitika

    On 8 October 1941 in Koiterangi (now Kowhitirangi) near Hokitika on the West Coast, Sergeant Cooper and Constables Best, Jordan and Tulloch were shot while trying to apprehend Stanley Graham. Best died three days later, the others died instantly.

    Graham, a West Coast farmer, shot the police officers and three civilians after refusing to hand over his firearms.

    This was the largest manhunt in New Zealand and after 12 days seven people had died, including Graham. An eighth victim died eighteen months later from gunshot wounds that they had received.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Sergeant William Cooper.
  • Constable Frederick William Jordan

    Died: 
    8th October 1941
    Koiterangi, near Hokitika

    On 8 October 1941 in Koiterangi (now Kowhitirangi) near Hokitika on the West Coast, Constable Jordan, Sergeant Cooper and Constables Best and Tulloch were shot while trying to apprehend Stanley Graham. Best died three days later, the others died instantly.

    Graham, a West Coast farmer, shot the police officers and three civilians after refusing to hand over his firearms.

    This was the largest manhunt in New Zealand and after 12 days seven people had died, including Graham. An eighth victim died eighteen months later from gunshot wounds that they had received.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable Frederick Jordan.
  • Constable Percy Campbell Tulloch

    Died: 
    8th October 1941
    Koiterangi, near Hokitika

    On 8 October 1941 in Koiterangi (now Kowhitirangi) near Hokitika on the West Coast, Constable Tulloch, Sergeant Cooper and Constables Best and Jordan were shot while trying to apprehend Stanley Graham. Best died three days later, the others died instantly.

    Graham, a West Coast farmer, shot the police officers and three civilians after refusing to hand over his firearms.

    This was the largest manhunt in New Zealand and after 12 days seven people had died, including Graham. An eighth victim died eighteen months later from gunshot wounds that they had received.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable Percy Tulloch.
  • Constable James Butler

    Died: 
    2nd January 1938
    Dunedin

    Constable Butler was assaulted by a drunk, violent and abusive offender as he tried to take him to the cells at Dunedin Police Station on Christmas Day 1937. He died in Dunedin Public Hospital eight days later after a blood clot created by the beating moved to his lungs.

    He was buried alongside his father, also a police officer, at Waipukurau Cemetery.

    Constable James Butler
  • Constable Thomas Heeps

    Died: 
    21st October 1934
    Hamilton

    On 20 October 1934, near Morrinsville, Constable Heeps located Henare Hona who was being sought for killing four people in the Otorohanga area. Constable Heeps was shot twice on attempting to return him to the station.

    He underwent surgery in Waikato Hospital but died the following day.

    Hona shot himself when surrounded by police on a farm.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable Thomas Heeps.
  • Constable James Dorgan

    Died: 
    27th August 1921
    Timaru

    In Timaru, while investigating a shop burglary, Constable Dorgan was shot at four times. He died at the scene fifteen minutes later.

    Although there were some suspects for the shooting, there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable James Dorgan.
  • Constable Vivian Dudding

    Died: 
    6th October 1919
    Wellington

    In Thorndon, Wellington, while attending a domestic dispute, Constable Dudding was shot in the head by Alexander Aspin, the divorced husband.

    Aspin later shot himself. They both died in hospital that night.

    Head and shoulders sketch of Constable Vivian Dudding.
  • Constable John Doyle

    Died: 
    6th February 1913
    Manawatu

    At the Albion Hotel in Shannon, near Palmerston North, on the 3 February 1913, Constable Doyle was assaulted by Peter MacDonald. He was later admitted to hospital due to the injuries he had received. He died there two days later.

    MacDonald was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

    Head and shoulders sketch of Constable John Doyle.
  • Sergeant John Patrick Hackett McGuire

    Died: 
    14th April 1910
    Palmerston North

    On 10 April 1910 in Palmerston North, during the hunt for an escaped burglar, Sergeant McGuire was shot and wounded in the stomach, allegedly by John Joseph Powelka. He died four days later.

    Powelka was acquitted of murder but convicted on seven charges of burglary, receiving three years imprisonment on each charge, to be served cumulatively.

    Newspaper photograph of John McGuire.
  • Constable Neil McLeod

    Died: 
    30th July 1890
    Dargaville

    At Mangawhare Wharf near Dargaville, Henry Funcke was removed from a passenger steamer after his rifle was taken from him.

    In a fit of rage he then pulled out a hidden pistol and fired at the departing ship, striking Constable McLeod, who was travelling to Auckland with his family.

    Funcke was later acquitted on the grounds of insanity.

    Head and shoulders photograph of Constable Neil McLeod.
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