Tomorrow marks a year since Hamilton chef Robert Nelson was gunned as he tried to save his shot and wounded girlfriend's life - and police are still hunting those responsible.

Nelson, 23, died in the early hours of the morning of July 8 last year.

He had finished work and went to stay at his girlfriend Kahlee Marfell's house on Matthews Crescent in Melville.

Just before 1am Marfell answered a knock at the door.


Three men, at least one of them carrying a firearm, forced their way in, firing more than five shots as they rampaged through the house.

Marfell, 20 at the time, was shot in the femur as the men entered.

A 17-year-old staying at the property heard the commotion and got up to confront the intruders.

He pushed Marfell behind him and stood in front of the gunmen.

Armed police at the scene of the Matthews Cres home where Robert Nelson was gunned down. Photo / Supplied
Armed police at the scene of the Matthews Cres home where Robert Nelson was gunned down. Photo / Supplied

The teen was shot four times - in the head, shoulder and twice in the torso.

Marfell scrambled to her bedroom and when the gunmen burst in, Nelson got up and ran at them in a bid to protect her from further injury.

He was shot and killed.

Marfell and the teen survived.


The day he was murdered Nelson's mother Dannette Vrijs spoke to the Herald.

She said he was "hard-working and fun-loving".

"He had so much potential. He loved to cook. He was really outgoing," she said.

Nelson's sister Erin also spoke out.

She was "absolutely gutted" and described her brother as her "best friend" and a "fun, happy guy" with a "bright future".

Nelson worked at Keystone Bar and Restaurant and was just getting ready to start his apprenticeship to become a qualified chef when he was killed.

Workmate Aimee Laing said he "loved cooking".

"During his shift it wouldn't matter if he was five hours or five minutes in, when he saw you he always had a smile," she said.

Police later confirmed the Matthews Cres intruders had asked for a senior gang member.

He was at the address at the time but was not caught up in the shooting.

Police also revealed the attack at the house was not random - but Nelson was not believed to be the intended target.

He was - tragically - in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The investigation into Nelson's death is ongoing and police have a team working full time on leads and inquiries.

They have previously appealed to anyone with information to come forward, believing there are people in the community protecting the intruders and killer.

Can you help?

If you have information on the death of Robert Nelson the Hamilton police would like you to contact them on 07 858 6200.

If you want to pass on information anonymously, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.