Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Victim's mother says Tully 'should go away forever'

The mother of one of Russell John Tully's Work and Income victims says he should "go away forever".

On September 1 2014 a black balaclava pulled down over his face Tully entered the Ashburton branch of Work and Income New Zealand with a crudely cut-down shotgun hanging at his side.

Winz case manager Leigh Cleveland, 55, begged for her life to masked gunman Tully.

But he showed no mercy in shooting her from close range.

After seeing the first blast didn't kill her, Tully went back and shot her twice more. She died at the scene.

He also shot receptionist Peg Noble at close range.

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He knew receptionist Noble well from his many encounters at the Winz centre before he was trespassed for his intimidating, bullying behaviour. He was less than 2m from her when he shot her.

A jury took less than six hours to find Tully guilty of murdering Ms Clevel and Ms Noble after a two-week trial at the High Court in Christchurch.

Ms Cleveland's elderly mother Kathleen hopes Tully is never again allowed back into the community.

"I hope they send him away forever," she said. "He shouldn't even be allowed parole, in my mind.
"He took away about 30 years of my daughter's life, and about 20 [years] of Peg's, so he should go away forever."

The last 18 months have been difficult for her with Tully's trial suffering many delays.

She has tried to "not even think about him".

"He's never in the back of my mind unless I'm talking to somebody regarding the case. He's not worth me wasting my health and time on.

"I feel so sorry for the girls in the [Work and Income] office who had to go back to work."

Tully had denied murdering Ms Noble and Ms Cleveland, along with charges of attempting to murder Ms Curtis and Ms Adams and other charges that include two counts of unlawful possession of firearms, and one of setting a man trap.

Ms Noble's family did not wish to be interviewed after the verdicts today but they released a statement via police in which they acknowledged all of the support they have been given.

"They are thankful for the strength which each witness displayed to reach this outcome," the statement said.

"Their love goes out to all the victims affected by this tragedy."

- NZ Herald

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