There’s a fascinating account in the Herald (here) of Ewen Macdonald, the bloke found not guilty of murdering his brother-in-law near Feilding, and his friendship with Callum Boe.
The jury at his murder trial was aware Macdonald was a bit of a rat-bag, because he had earlier pleaded guilty to six other crimes.
He had admitted poaching and damaging and burning houses linked to Scott Guy and his wife, Kylee.
But the three other charges he admitted were suppressed after his lawyer argued they would unfairly influence the jury.
In the upshot, Macdonald was acquitted of Scott Guy’s murder.
Only in recent days did the public learn of Macdonald’s role in emptying thousands of litres of milk from another farmer’s milk vat, and beating 19 bobby calves to death, albeit several years before Scott Guy’s murder.
That’s where Callum Boe comes into the picture.
The Herald today describes Boe, a bloke of 22, as “the mystery figure who loomed so large throughout Macdonald’s much-publicised trial on a charge of murdering Scott Guy”.
And it tells us some of the things they got up to together.
Macdonald and Boe enjoyed hunting and would go on night-time hunting trips that they called “missions”.
At first, it seems, these missions were innocent enough, but when Boe was aged between 17 and 19, and Macdonald a decade older, they became criminal – including poaching, vandalism and, in the end, killing a neighbour’s stock for revenge.
On many occasions they would sneak on to other farmers’ land and kill stags, once shooting a stag 600m from a house where a family were sleeping.
They crept onto one Foxton farmer’s property between 100 and 200 times over several years and even poached from Macdonald’s neighbours, shooting two stags, worth $7500, belonging to Feilding farmer Craig Hocken in 2006.
But their missions were not confined to deer poaching.
Herald readers learn of them slaughtering 19 calves with hammer blows to their heads after they crept into the pen at night to take revenge on a farmer who had alerted his neighbour to the pair’s nocturnal antics.
That neighbour, Graham Sexton, didn’t escape Macdonald and Boe’s wrath either. After being forced to apologise – an apology made in Mr Sexton’s home – they returned and emptied 16,000 litres of milk from a vat, costing him tens of thousands of dollars.
Months later, they returned to the Sexton farm and burned a 110-year-old whare to the ground. It had no real monetary value but the family felt it was done because Macdonald knew it would hurt them.
Macdonald accordingly has more than a few offences on his record sheet.
They have been listed by a TV3 report (here).
Criminal damage: Slaughtering 19 calves belonging to Himatangi dairy farmer Paul Barber on the night of August 9, 2007. The calves had been struck on the head with an object.
Criminal damage: Emptying 16,000 litres of milk from a vat belonging to another Himatangi farmer, Nigel Sexton, on the same night the calves were culled.
Arson: Burning down an historic Maori whare built in 1888 which was on Mr Sexton’s farm. Macdonald used an LPG bottle and boat fuel to start the fire. The whare was used as a family sleep out and a duck shooter’s shelter.
Theft: Driving to a nearby farm and shooting two trophy stags. He put them on his trailer and buried them in a pre-dug hole on the Guy family farm, where he was a manager.
Criminal damage: Burning down an old farm house on the back of removal trailers at the site of Scott and Kylee Guy’s new home. The house and trailers were destroyed.
Criminal damage: Vandalising Scott and Kylee Guy’s new home once construction had nearly finished.
Alf was not surprised – in the light of this – to hear what Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president Andrew Hoggard thought of this carry-on.
One account of his reaction can be found here.
Federated Farmers Manawatu President Andrew Hoggard says he wouldn’t expect another farmer would do that to one of their colleagues.
“A fellow dairy farmer should know the amount of work that goes in on a daily basis to look after those calves to produce that milk. To go and destroy it, it’s pretty sick really.”
His language is somewhat stronger in the aforementioned Herald report.
He is quoted there as saying –
“We genuinely thought crimes like this were committed by some low-life toe-rag who’d never worked a decent day in their life.
“It is a real shock to discover Macdonald has admitted to what are acts of sabotage.”
Dunno why Hoggard should think that a reputation for hard work on a farm should put a bloke above suspicion.
Acts of this sort, fair to say, indeed are committed by low-life toe-rags.
Putting in a decent day’s work does not somehow ensure that a low-life toe-rag will be transformed.