A man who allegedly shot two police officers has been revealed as a big game trophy hunter who travelled to Africa killing animals to bring back as trophies.
Eric Newman targeted Sergeant Mark Johnston and his partner Senior Constable Helen McMurtrie after they responded to reports of a domestic incident on Friday night at a house in Glen Innes, northern New South Wales.
A neighbour spoke to Daily Telegraph and said Newman, 74, and his wife Lesley, 59, were big game hunters who had been on several trips to Africa and had several animal skins in their house.
Eric Newman (right) and his wife Lesley (left). Newman shot two police officers before killing himself, police say
A neighbour said the pair were big game hunters who had been on several trips to Africa and had several animal skins in their house
Several other photos show the pair’s house decorated with animal trophies including a zebra skin, a stuffed bear and animal heads
‘He was a keen trophy hunter and had a lot of taxidermy in his house — giraffes, bears, you name it,’ the neighbour said.
A photo shared by Lesley on her personal Facebook page shows the pair with a giraffe they had just killed. A rifle can be seen nearby.
Several other photos show the pair’s house decorated with animal trophies including a zebra skin, a stuffed bear and animal heads.
Friends of the couple estimate they had 20 to 30 guns in their home, the publication reported.
‘He was a keen trophy hunter and had a lot of taxidermy in his house — giraffes, bears, you name it,’ the neighbour said
Police believe Newman, who retired from trophy hunting 10 years ago, pointed his rifle at the officers before turning it on himself
Police believe Newman, who retired from trophy hunting 10 years ago, pointed his rifle at the officers before turning it on himself.
His body was found at the scene.
Sgt Johnston is in a stable condition but Snr Const. McMurtrie, who was shot in the throat, has been put into a coma by doctors.
McMurtrie now faces a fight for her life in Gold Coast Hospital.
Sergeant Mark Johnston (pictured) and his partner Senior Constable Helen McMurtrie were shot while attending a domestic incident in Glen Innes, northern New South Wales
Sergeant Mark Johnston (with his wife) was airlifted to hospital after he was targeted with a rifle in Glen Innes, northern New South Wales
The officers were called to a house in the small town at 9.50pm on Friday.
They spoke to Newman and after the discussion they were shot at in the street with a 303 centerfire rifle.
The pair, with the help of an unharmed third colleague, escaped and gave each other first aid before paramedics arrived.
His wife Lesley, was found nearby with minor injuries after she begged neighbours for help.
Neighbour Daryl Craig heard the terrifying incident. He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘I had just gone to bed and I heard ‘Put the gun down, put the gun down’.
‘I heard a bang and then another bang.’
He said he looked out of the window and saw officers ‘dragging one of their coppers towards their car’.
Sgt Johnston suffered a gunshot wound to the face and is expected to recover
Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said in a press conference on Saturday: ‘Our female officer has undergone some surgery and is currently receiving further medical treatment in relation to that very serious injury.’
‘We hope and pray she makes a full recovery. There is certainly a road ahead for her in that regard.’
‘We’re very mindful we could have lost two officers here in that incident,’ he said.
‘The whole police family wishes them a speedy recovery.’
NSW Police Acting Commissioner Gary Worboys said the incident is now part of a critical incident investigation.
Both officers were airlifted to Gold Coast Hospital (pictured is the helicopter) in a stable condition, with the female officer said to be serious
‘I want to offer my support and well wishes to these three brave officers, their families and colleagues on behalf of the entire police force,’ Mr Worboys said.
‘As an organisation, we are rallying around the officers and providing any support they need to assist in their recovery and we look forward to welcoming them back to work when they are ready.’
‘Incidents like this highlight the very real dangers of policing and I thank everyone in the community for their support and well wishes,’ he said.
‘We will continue to support the officers and their families throughout their recovery.’
Two NSW police officers have been shot attending a domestic incident at a house at Church Street, Glen Innes (pictured) which ended with the death of an elderly man