A new investigation into the background of Australia’s worst-ever mass murderer, Martin Bryant, claims the gunman was responsible for the deaths of his father and closest friend and wealthy benefactor – years before his murderous rampage through Port Arthur.
Helen Mary Elizabeth Harvey and her two dogs died in a fatal car crash on October 20, 1992 – four years before the Tasmanian massacre in 1996 which claimed the lives of 35 men, women and children and saw all semi-automatic weapons banned from sale in Australia.
Ms Harvey, who was an heiress to the Tattersall’s lotteries fortune, left her sprawling property and inheritance to Byrant, with his father, Maurice to act as a trustee.
In ‘Martin Bryant’s Dark Secrets’, and Seven documentary to air on Sunday, Ms Harvey’s neighbour, Barry Featherstone, provides chilling details about the killer’s erratic behavoiur when he was in the car with her.
Mr Featherstone said his neighbour told him she had to drive at 35km/h because Byrant would often grab the steering wheel off her when she was driving – frequently causing the car to crash.
When he was walking to her her remove the car from the drain after one crash, she told him Bryant had cause ‘multiple’ accidents when she was driving.
Ms Harvey then told him ‘one of these days the little bastard is going to kill me’.
After Ms Harvey and her two dogs were killed in a fatal crash in 1992 that injured Bryant, with Mr Featherstone having to identify his neighbour’s body.
He gave a statement to police about Bryant’s manic behaviour inside the car.
However, Mr Featherstone doesn’t believe the soon-to-be mass murderer was ever questioned about the fatal crash.
Bryant told police that it was her dogs roaming loose in the car that caused the crash.
But another suspicious death was to happen just a year later – that of Maurice Bryant. He was found dead in a dam on the family property, after going missing in mysterious circumstances.
Investigative reporter Denham Hitchcock speaks to new witnesses in the documentary, who claim Australia’s worst mass murderer was ‘settling scores’ and was left unchecked to carry out his crimes.
Martin Bryant (pictured) killed 35 people and injured a further 23 when he went on a rampage in Port Arthur in Tasmania
Barry Featherstone (pictured) a former neighbour of Helen Harvey, revealed he reported the gunman’s erratic behaviour to authorities after she confided in him
Wealthy benefactor Helen Harvey (third left) died in a car crash in 1992 that left Bryant, a passenger in the vehicle, with injuries
Ms Harvey left her sprawling Hobart mansion (pictured) farm and money to Bryant, with his father Maurice to act as trustee
New evidence has revealed the gunman can be linked to two other deaths, his father and Maurice, left, and his closest friend Helen Harvey
Hitchcock questions the validity of Maurice Bryant’s suicide, reveals new evidence about what happened and questions if the gunman could have been involved.
He also speculates if the Port Arthur massacre could have been avoided if authorities had acted on information regarding the death of Bryant’s father and close friend.
On April 28, 1996, Bryant killed 35 people and injured 23 at a historic site in Port Arthur, Tasmania, which at the time was the world’s worst-ever massacre.
Bryant, now 53, will serve the rest of his life in a small mental health unit in Tasmania’s Risdon Prison on the outskirts of Hobart, where he has been jailed for 25 years.
he is now obese and is reviled in prison, where he is known to swap sexual favours for chocolates with other inmates.
A former neighbour to the wealthy benefactor revealed she had confided in him that Bryant had caused multiple car accidents. Pictured: The grave of Helen Harvey at Hobart Cemetery
Bryant is serving 35 life sentences and will die in prison.
The murderer has never explained his actions but investigators have speculated the murders were sparked out of retribution for grievances while others were collateral damage.
The shooting prompted significant gun reform under then-Prime Minister John Howard via the 1996 National Firearms Agreement.
The laws banned rapid-fire guns from civilian ownership except under certain, restricted licences and tightened requirements for firearms licensing, registration and safe storage.
Last month marked 25 years since the gunman’s devastating rampage, with a small ceremony held at the historic site to pay respect to the victims.