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Brother-in-law on death charge

By Anna Leask

Ewen MacDonald helped to carry the coffin at Scott Guy's funeral in July last year. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Ewen MacDonald helped to carry the coffin at Scott Guy's funeral in July last year. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Scott Guy's father once called a meeting to resolve lingering tensions between his son and the man now accused of his murder.

Bryan Guy revealed yesterday that a "rivalry" existed between the murdered Feilding farmer and Ewen Kerry MacDonald, his brother-in-law, who is accused of gunning him down.

It was serious enough that a meeting had to be called between the two men to resolve issues over the running of the Guy family farm.

MacDonald - husband of Mr Guy's sister, Anna - appeared in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday charged with murdering his 31-year-old brother-in-law on July 8 last year.

After MacDonald's appearance, during which the accused man insisted he had nothing to do with the killing, Bryan Guy spoke of the previous rivalry between the pair.

He said there had not appeared to be any animosity recently, but several years ago, he had had to step in.

"There was some rivalry, especially in the early days.

"We had family meetings and thought we'd sorted it out.

"The last year or so, everyone seemed to be getting along really well.

"They both wanted to be the boss, I wanted to be the boss ... We split the roles ... I gave them their own areas to look after and their own responsibilities."

Bryan Guy also spoke of how his daughter told her four children - Finn, Jack, Lucy and Wade, aged between 2 and 7 - that their father had been accused of killing their beloved uncle.

"I stayed at Anna's last night. I had to go out milking and when I got back we were going to tell them together," he said.

"But they saw Scott on television on the news, and Anna told them. She explained that dad said he didn't do it, but the police say he did. They said, 'Dad didn't do it'."

Mr Guy said his daughter had been teary and emotional, but desperately wanted to believe her husband was innocent.

She wore her wedding ring in court and clung to her father as police officers led MacDonald into the dock.

Throughout the hearing she looked drawn, pale and anxious and rested her head on her father's shoulder at times, looking close to tears.

"Anna believes Ewen at this stage," Mr Guy said. "She wants to believe him. We all want to believe him. It's hard to fathom ... It's just disbelief, as you can imagine.

"Anna is coping as good as can be expected, I guess. She's in a wave of emotion, just like the rest of us."

Mrs MacDonald walked into court arm-in-arm with her brother's widow, Kylee.

Mrs Guy had her baby son Drover - born three months after his father was murdered - in her arms. Little Drover cried out in court and Mrs MacDonald at one point turned and reached for Mrs Guy, who was sitting several rows behind her.

When MacDonald appeared in the dock, Mrs Guy fled the court room sobbing.

She was supported in court by her parents, sisters and Mr Guy's brother Callum.

Mrs MacDonald sat in the front row with Bryan Guy and her father-in-law, Kerry MacDonald.

Mr MacDonald's other son, Blair - a Wellington police officer - cried as his brother faced the charges laid against him.

Defence lawyer Greg King said Ewen MacDonald chose not to seek bail or name suppression.

"He appreciates there is a great deal of publicity and interest in this unsolved murder ... He denies any involvement whatsoever in the killing of Mr Guy," Mr King said.

MacDonald is also facing six other charges, but a suppression order prohibits publication of details.

He did not speak during his court appearance, nor did he acknowledge anyone in the public gallery.

Outside court, Bryan Guy said yesterday's court appearance was "very, very tough", and worse for the family than the day Scott was killed.

Bryan Guy said his son's death was like "a ripple through a pond".

"But today, this one's like a tsunami that's hit us. Kylee's really good. She was very concerned about Anna."

Mr Guy said he never expected one of his own family to be arrested for his son's murder.

"I guess over the last few months we certainly looked at each other and we all were suspects ... but we didn't like to think it was someone as close as that.

"Every time we did think it was someone as close as that, I put it out of my mind and thought, 'Surely it can't be'. I didn't want to think about it."

He said the family wanted to believe the best of MacDonald.

"That's not Ewen. We can't imagine he would do such a thing. He's facing some other charges - he's made some bad choices in the past.

"But we can't imagine that he would do that. If not guilty is what he's saying, I will certainly give him the benefit of the doubt."

Mr Guy said MacDonald's family were devastated by the charges.

"It's very, very, very tough. It's heart-wrenching. It's so horrible for Ewen's parents.

"We always hoped it would be a stranger. This is our worst nightmare, worse than when Scott was murdered."

Scott Guy was best man at MacDonald's wedding. MacDonald, who is on the board of trustees at his children's primary school, spoke at Scott's funeral and helped to carry his coffin from the service.

"He stood up in front of the church with the other kids ... It doesn't seem that would be the actions of a murderer," Bryan Guy said.

Two weeks before the murder, MacDonald and Mr Guy travelled together to Invercargill for a dairying conference.

Mr Guy's other sister, Nikki Guy, has previously recalled that the pair had a "fantastic time".

Bryan Guy said that over the past nine months, he had pondered whether MacDonald - who was among the first to find Scott's body - could be behind the murder.

"But every time I thought of his reaction [to Scott's death]. I thought, 'No, that can't be right'. His reactions all the way through - he's either innocent or he's very good ...

"If he is guilty, he must be ill, he must be sick. He hasn't shown that he's had any remorse; there's been nothing like that."

Yesterday, police searched areas of the Guy farm. Kylee Guy no longer lives on the property. She moved to Hawkes Bay soon after Scott was killed, and the home is on the market.

* A 21-year-old Feilding man also charged in relation to the Scott Guy investigation has been bailed to a Queenstown address. He has been granted interim name suppression and will reappear in court on April 18 to face six non-homicide charges.

- NZ Herald

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