Service to remember slain police officer

By Doug Laing

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Constable Glenn McKibbin was killed while on duty in 1996.
Constable Glenn McKibbin was killed while on duty in 1996.

A memorial service will be held in Flaxmere on Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Constable Glenn McKibbin after he was shot in a suburban street on April 21, 1996.

The son of a retired officer and a 25-year-old father with a partner and young son, Constable McKibbin had just stopped a car in Yarmouth Rd late on the Sunday morning when the driver of a mustard-coloured Ford Falcon station wagon slowed and fired at the officer from a .22 Ruger rifle.

The startled driver of the car, an innocent party, ran for cover as the station wagon drove off, before doing a U-turn. It again stopped alongside the scene as its driver fired two more shots at the officer's patrol car, just missing the officer as he lay dying in the street.

Its driver sped off and abandoned the station wagon 18km away at the remote southern end of Anaroa Rd, west of Te Hauke and off Raukawa Rd south of Bridge Pa.

Identified as Terence Thompson, 43, he was the subject of a nine-week manhunt, before being challenged by armed police in an orchard near Havelock North, and shot dead after ignoring a demand to surrender and pointing a gun at an officer.

Glenn McKibbin is recorded as the 24th of 29 New Zealand police officers killed by a criminal act while carrying out their duties.

The first was in Northland in 1890 and the most recent was the slaying of Senior Constable Len Snee during the shooting of three officers by cannabis grower Jan Molenaar in Napier in 2009.

Constable McKibbin was stationed at the Flaxmere police station, where the memorial will start at 9.30am on Thursday and be attended by police along with Mr McKibbin's parents and other family members. Members of the public are also invited.

Retired Inspector Ross Pinkham, who headed the investigation, recalled it as a tragic day in which the angry Thompson, determined to "make a name for himself", saw an opportunity when he came across the officer on the street and took it.

With Thompson experienced as a soldier, it was not surprising that he had survived so long apparently in the outdoors, during a manhunt which stretched as far as Porangahau.

Communities in Hawke's Bay became used to their community officers patrolling while armed. The Armed Offender Squad was deployed on 55 of the manhunt's 65 days, while the arrival of the duck-shooting season, with its camouflaged hunters and rounds of shooting, about 10 days after Constable McKibbin was shot, added to the unnerving times.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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