In August 2013 a double murder, and the suicide of the killer shocked New Zealand. Three people were dead, seven children left without a parent and their families and friends reeling. Today the Coroner’s report into the murder suicide can be published.

They drank wine together, the best part of a bottle, and went to bed.

Soon after, they were dead, gunned down by a jealous and enraged ex-lover described as a "gun nut", who would lead police on a manhunt across Auckland before turning his firearm on himself.

The violent saga unfolded at a sprawling home in South Auckland in August 2013. The victims were Trevor Hammond Waite, 51, and his friend Glenys Stanton, 47. They had been seeing each other on and off since meeting through the networking meetup.com website in March.

The killer was 51-year-old John Mowatt, who had met Ms Stanton through a dating website in April. They had been dating more seriously, until she called things off on August 12.

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He didn't take it well and 11 days later, he lay in wait at the home of Ms Stanton's new lover to exact his revenge. When Mr Waite and Ms Stanton went to bed, Mowatt shot his way through a ranch-slider into the master bedroom and murdered the lovers.
He fired 29 rounds.

Two days later, Mowatt, surrounded by police at Woodhill Forest northwest of Auckland, 82km from the blood-soaked crime scene, turned his gun on himself.

Three people were dead, seven children had lost a parent and police had to start piecing together what had happened, and why.

A year later, they released the findings of their investigation, and after taking advice from the Crown Solicitor, stated that if Mowatt had not died, he would have been charged with the murders of Ms Stanton and Mr Waite.

They believed the prospect of his being convicted of the two murders was "likely" but could take no further action and referred the file to the coroner.

After reviewing the file, Coroner Katharine Greig released her findings yesterday. The Herald can now report the full details of the murders and of Mowatt's suicide.
Here, we dissect the 25-page report and take you into what became known as The Bedroom Murders.

THE CORONER'S RULING

Glenys Marie Stanton, 47, died from a gunshot wound to her neck. She suffered eight gunshot wounds, several of which would have been inflicted after she died.

Trevor Hammond Waite, 51, died from gunshot injuries to the chest and neck. He was shot eight times and several wounds were inflicted after his death.

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John Donald Mowatt, 51, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. Coroner Greig was satisfied that in shooting himself, Mowatt did so knowing he would die, thus his death was a suicide.

THE MAIN PLAYERS

Trevor Waite, 51, murder victim

A copy photo from the service sheet at Trevor Waite's funeral. Photo / Greg Bowker
A copy photo from the service sheet at Trevor Waite's funeral. Photo / Greg Bowker

Glenys Stanton, 47, murder victim

Glenys Stanton. Photo / Supplied
Glenys Stanton. Photo / Supplied

John Mowatt, 51, murderer, died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds

John E Moet or real name John Mowatt. Photo / Supplied
John E Moet or real name John Mowatt. Photo / Supplied

READ MORE: Family - 'You never get over it'

THE BEDROOM MURDERS: AS IT HAPPENED

Friday, August 23, 2013.

Trevor Waite and Glenys Stanton planned to meet that night at his place on Ponga Rd, Opaheke, near Papakura. The pair had been seeing each other on and off for a few months but were not in a formal relationship.

Ms Stanton packed clothes and personal items in an overnight bag and drove from her home in Mt Eden to Ponga Rd.

She sent a text to Mr Waite at 7.45pm saying she would be there "soonish".

Ms Stanton arrived at the house and parked in the driveway. Intending to stay over, she took her bag inside and placed it in Mr Waite's bedroom.

According to the coroner's report, the pair sat in the lounge drinking red wine. They then headed to bed.

"The police reconstruction is that after Mr Waite and Ms Stanton went to bed, a person approached the house armed with a .22 calibre semi-automatic firearm. This person approached the master bedroom and gained entry by shooting an area of toughened glass on the ranch-slider, around the locking mechanism," the report stated.

"Seven shots were required to shatter the glass, based on curtain damage. Police believe the person placed their hand through the hole created to gain access to the lock and open the ranch-slider."

A forensic reconstruction revealed six shots were then fired into the bedroom, hitting the wall above the bed the pair were in. The shooter, later identified as Mowatt, then walked into the room and opened fire on the lovers.

"In total, 29 rounds were fired within the bedroom. Forensic examination shows they were all fired from the same weapon.

"Mowatt then left the house via the open ranch-slider door. He did not set foot in any other part of the house," Coroner Greig said.

After an exhaustive investigation, police ascertained that the pair were murdered sometime after 9.09pm, the time of the last text sent from Ms Stanton's phone.

"Police did not conclusively identify the offender's route onto the property, but consider [Mowatt] most likely arrived on foot and did not drive down the driveway."

Nicola Waite (right), mother of Kelsey Waite (18,centre), who discovered the body of her father Trevor Waite and Glenys Stanton at his Papakura lifestyle block. Photo / Richard Robinson
Nicola Waite (right), mother of Kelsey Waite (18,centre), who discovered the body of her father Trevor Waite and Glenys Stanton at his Papakura lifestyle block. Photo / Richard Robinson

WHAT KELSEY WAITE SAW

Kelsey Waite was 18 when her father was murdered. For the most part she lived with her mother in Papakura but was close to Mr Waite and had organised to spend some of the weekend he was killed at his Opaheke home.

The coroner's report outlines how Ms Waite found her father's body. She has declined to speak to the Herald about her ordeal.

According to the report, Ms Waite tried to get hold of her father on Saturday, August 24, but had no luck. (He was already dead.)

"Kelsey and her father were usually in regular contact," the report said, "and she said that it was unusual that he did not contact her on Friday 23 August or the following day, and also that he did not return texts from her over that period."

Ms Waite had arranged for her and a friend to stay at her father's house on Saturday night. They were to attend a party at a house nearby and it was easier to "crash" at her dad's place than to find their way back to Papakura.

On the way to the party, Ms Waite and her friend called by her father's house to drop off a bag. They left it at the door and did not go inside. At that stage, the house was in darkness.

Not thinking anything was out of the ordinary, the young women headed to the party.
At 11.30 that night, Ms Waite and three friends arrived back at the Ponga Rd house.

Her father's car and another were parked outside. She had not met Ms Stanton and was not aware her father was seeing the woman.

Again, the house was in darkness.

"The curtains in the sitting room and dining room were closed and there were two used wine glasses and a near-empty bottle of wine in the kitchen. Nothing seemed out of place," said Coroner Greig.

The friends played music until 12.30am and then two of them left. Ms Waite and her other friend went to bed.

"They did not see or hear Mr Waite or notice anything of concern," the coroner noted.
This is because, by the time Ms Waite arrived home, her father had already been murdered. In fact, he had likely been dead for some time.

The teenager got up the next morning and had breakfast. She then peered out of her bedroom window and saw that her father's ranch-slider was open and there was "black stuff" on the ground outside.

"Kelsey went to investigate. The curtains in her father's room were drawn and the lights were off. She turned on the lights and saw her father lying on the bed with blood on his chest," Coroner Greig said.

Ms Waite called 111 at 11.20am. Police and ambulance staff were sent to Ponga Rd and found Mr Waite and Ms Stanton dead. They had been shot multiple times. A homicide investigation was launched.

John Mowatt. Photo / Supplied
John Mowatt. Photo / Supplied

WHAT THE KILLER DID NEXT

Mowatt returned home to Waimauku. His landlady saw him on Saturday morning and said he was "quiet".

That evening, he sent an "affectionate text" to his 17-year-old son, followed by another the next day apologising for the disappointment he had caused.

Meanwhile, police were trying to contact Mowatt. As part of the murder investigation, they were reaching out to all who knew Ms Stanton and Mr Waite, including those they had connected with on the websites.

Mowatt ignored police, and even though he watched television news bulletins about the murders, he made no reference to Ms Stanton's death to anyone.

On Tuesday, August 27, police contacted Mowatt's mate John in a bid to get in touch with Mowatt. John called Mowatt and got no answer until about 10pm.

"Mowatt rang John back. He told John that he had firearms, was north of Auckland and had 'gone bush'. John told him there were a lot of people looking for him, including the police. Mowatt said, 'I guess you know why'," the coroner's report said.

John urged Mowatt to contact the police, but he did not.

One person Mowatt did contact that night was his teenage daughter.

She sent him a series of text messages asking him if he was okay, and expressing concern.

The police had already contacted her, asking if she knew where her father was.

At 8.45pm, he sent her a text saying he was "not really" okay, calling her "darling", and adding a sad-face emoticon.

He sent another text at 10.18pm. It read: "It's okay."

Mowatt's son tried repeatedly to get hold of him that day. At 10.20pm, his father finally picked up the phone.

"He [the son] described his father as being 'all over the place emotionally'," said the coroner.

Mowatt told his son he was "in a dark place", that he was "locked in a forest" and he had "been alone for two years" and that he had made some very bad decisions.

His son probed for more information and asked what happened with Ms Stanton, and why the police were looking for him.

Mowatt said he had "messed up stuff, dark and messed up". He told his son to look after his sister, and the call ended.

The police were starting to close in on Mowatt. An alert had gone out on his vehicle, and a security guard tasked with locking up access roads to Woodhill Forest overnight reported the same car left in a carpark.

Detectives investigating the homicide were alerted and the armed offenders squad (AOS), special tactics group and Eagle helicopter were deployed.

"The plan was to take a cordon-and-contain approach while the police negotiating team attempted to contact Mowatt by telephone," the coroner's report said.

The Eagle's crew used heat-sensing infrared imaging to find Mowatt and spotted him at 11.25pm.

By 11.45pm, AOS staff were about 100m away from Mowatt and could see him.

"From their observation they considered the person was not aware of the police presence on the ground," said the report.

Negotiators were poised to call Mowatt when he shot himself.

AOS officers converged on him and found he had a head trauma "incompatible with life".

"They found a .762 rifle in a position that made it clear that Mr Mowatt had pointed the gun barrel at his head. A box of ammunition and five life rifle cartridges were also found."

A Police tent sits over the scene at Woodhill Forest Mountainbike Park northwest of Auckland, where John Mowatt shot himself in front of police. Photo / Sarah Ivey
A Police tent sits over the scene at Woodhill Forest Mountainbike Park northwest of Auckland, where John Mowatt shot himself in front of police. Photo / Sarah Ivey

MOWATT'S GUN CACHE

Police did not find the gun used to kill Mr Waite and Ms Stanton. They established that Mowatt owned a Ruger .22LR semi-automatic rifle, but they could not find it. The Ruger was one of only five types of possible firearms that could have fired the rounds used to kill the pair at Ponga Rd.

The coroner heard that Mowatt was a "gun enthusiast" and had owned guns for many years. He was described by one of his sons as a "gun nut". Mowatt had a firearms licence, which was valid until July 2016.

Investigations continued after Mowatt's death and police found he owned a number of guns.

• In his friend John's gun safe he was storing a Stag .223 semi-automatic rifle, a Ruger SR. 22 semi-automatic assault-type rifle and a .22-calibre assault-type rifle.
• At the house Mowatt lived in at Waimauku, police found a semi-automatic-style Ruger .22 rifle, a Remington shotgun, an airgun, a crossbow and arrows, grenades and mortar rounds and live ammunition.
• In the boot of Mowatt's car, they found a Ruger rifle stock with a sight scope attached and a .22 calibre firearm.
• At his home under renovation in Te Atatu, they found a large amount of ammunition, a .223 Remington rifle, a Stag-15 rifle, a DP wooden-barrel rifle and a bolt-action rifle.
• At a rented storage unit in Mowatt's name, they found a Ruger semi-automatic rifle.

Police search the bush on the driveway at the entrance to the property where the double murder occurred in Ponga Road, Opaheke.Photo / Sarah Ivey
Police search the bush on the driveway at the entrance to the property where the double murder occurred in Ponga Road, Opaheke.Photo / Sarah Ivey

ANATOMY OF A TRAGEDY

Mr Waite and Ms Stanton met on a networking website in March. They dated for a while, until Mr Waite went on holiday overseas in June.

When he returned, they started seeing each other again from time to time. They had a shared interest in tramping and cycling.

In April, Ms Stanton connected with Mowatt on a dating website. The inquest heard that although she initially enjoyed spending time with him, even telling friends she wanted to marry him, she later decided the relationship was not working, that she felt smothered by her new man's constant attention.

In early August, she told Mowatt she did not want the relationship to continue. A series of texts between the pair, found by police, showed she was firm on the matter, despite Mowatt's telling her he loved her and that he was keen to find a way to make the relationship work.

They carried on seeing each other, but by then Ms Stanton was seeing Mr Waite again.
According to the police, on one occasion, Mowatt arrived uninvited at Ms Stanton's home and found Mr Waite there.

"This was witnessed by a friend who was also visiting who said that Mr Mowatt behaved in a very possessive manner towards Ms Stanton," Greig said in her report.

About three weeks before the murders, Mowatt told a good friend that he had broken up with Ms Stanton.

"John said this coincided with the two-year anniversary of his marriage split and a year since he lost his job. John described it as being 'all a bit much' and [his friend said] he seemed pretty down," the report said.

On August 15, Mowatt told his 20-year-old son that he was "at another crisis point". He said his relationship had broken up and his emotions were to blame. He said his time with Ms Stanton had been one of the best periods in his life, but he would "get through it".

On August 16, Mowatt told his 16-year-old daughter about the break-up. He said Ms Stanton told him she wanted to be more independent and wanted to "keep going out with her other male friends".

His daughter told police Mowatt had been "in a hard place" since the break-up and he was "reaching out to God to get his life back on track".

The next day, Mowatt went out with his regular hiking group. He met a man on the hike and started to pour his heart out.

He became emotional and told the man he was suicidal but that he would "stick around" for the sake of his children.

The man suggested a support group and called Mowatt the next day to pass on the details, and those of a counsellor.

On August 18, Mowatt bought a book about learning to manage his mood swings. About this time, he spoke to his mother and revealed all he wanted to do was "end it all".

"She described him as being 'like a tight wire that was about to snap'," the coroner's report said.

"She described him as having lost weight and that he had told her he was not eating properly and not sleeping. His mother urged him to go to his doctor."

Text messages from August 20 revealed to police that Mowatt and Ms Stanton spent the night together on the 19th. Mowatt told her the night was "very special to him".

The next day, he was down again, pouring his heart out to a part-time builder, Cameron, who was helping him renovate the house in Te Atatu.

The builder said Mowatt was "really down, emotional and crying".

On August 22, Ms Stanton came home to find Mowatt waiting at her house. She invited him inside and he expected to stay the night, but she asked him to leave as she had an early flight the next day. She had recently started work as a flight attendant.

While at the house, Mowatt saw condoms in Ms Stanton's packed bag. On his way home, he called in to see a woman he dated in 2012 but she was not home. Her flatmate, who answered the door, said he was "quite upset".

On the day of the murders, Mowatt told his friend, daughter and landlady about the condom discovery. He was "tearful and fragile" but "resigned to the fact she [Ms Stanton] no longer want to be his girlfriend", the coroner's report outlined.

At 5pm that day, Mowatt approached Cameron the builder, saying Ms Stanton had called him and asked him over for dinner.

The inquest heard that there is no record of any call between Ms Stanton and Mowatt that day. The pair exchanged "amicable text messages" but no intention to meet.

Later that night, Mowatt attended the support group he had been referred to by the man he met while hiking. The group met in Orakei, and he spoke about his tragic love life.

Before he left, he told the course facilitator that he "had stuff to do tonight" but would be back the next day.

He left the meeting at 10.30pm, and cellphone GPS data obtained by the police showed he returned to his home in Waimauku.

"From 11.37pm on 23 August until 8.58am the next day, his cellphone continued to poll from there," police told the inquest.

"However, at 12.33am on 24 August, Mr Mowatt was captured on CCTV footage at a petrol station in Mt Eden near Ms Stanton's home where he purchased petrol."

The shoes and clothes he was wearing that night have never been found, despite extensive searching by police.

The only thing they found of note was a remnants of a burned balaclava in a fireplace at Mowatt's home.

Police believe Mowatt may have deliberately left his cellphone at home. He worked for Telecom for many years and would have had "expert knowledge" about phone tracking, they said.

"At no time after 23 August did Mr Mowatt attempt to phone Ms Stanton or send her text messages," Coroner Greig reported.

REPORTING SUICIDE ALLOWED

When reporting suicide, the media are bound by strict rules under the Coroners Act 2006.

The Herald cannot describe a death as "suicide" unless the Chief Coroner has granted an exemption to the rules or a coroner makes a finding that a death was suicide.
Reporting the method of self-inflicted deaths is restricted, unless an exemption is given.

However, in the case of Mowatt, Coroner Greig authorised the publication of the specifics of his death.

She said it was appropriate to publicise the entirety of her decision following the inquest.

"I do not consider making public the particulars of Mowatt's death will be detrimental to public safety - in that the specific situation in which he died is unlikely to encourage copy-cat behaviour, which is the usual concern associated with making public details of suicide," she said.

"This is a matter in which there is widespread public interest and there was extensive publicity about the three deaths. It would in my view be anomalous for the publication of the manner and particulars of Ms Stanton and Mr Waite's deaths to be allowed, and Mr Mowatt's not, when his death is so closely linked to their deaths."

Coroner Greig finished her report by extending "heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of Ms Stanton, Mr Waite and Mr Mowatt, on the loss of their loved ones."

Where to get help:
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youth services: (06) 3555 906
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
The Word
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.