A Rotorua man called police and said "I have murdered my wife, I shot her" immediately after her death at a Ngakuru address in November.

He then tried to kill himself by lying in front of a logging truck.

The High Court at Rotorua has just released the summary of facts surrounding the death of Patricia Douthett (nee Wallis) on November 26 last year.

Last Friday, Michael Douthett, 58, pleaded guilty to murdering his wife of 20 years, and to dangerous driving.


According to the summary of facts, the couple separated in early 2018 and Patricia moved out of the family home.

Police at the murder scene in Ngakuru in November. Photo / File
Police at the murder scene in Ngakuru in November. Photo / File

She continued to return three to four times a week to help run the farm.

They were in the process of dividing the property.

Michael Douthett was primarily responsible for this "and believed he was not getting the co-operation he needed from the deceased and this was a major source of frustration for him", the summary said.

On November 26 at 6am he was at home, had just made a cup of coffee and was sitting at the dining room table.

Patricia arrived at the house, came in and put her gumboots on before heading down to the milking shed.

Michael greeted her but she did not reply.

He then waited until their son, aged 17, had gone to work, before having a shower and getting dressed.


"He went to the wardrobe in the master bedroom and took a .22 bolt action rifle
from the wardrobe. He loaded it with ammunition from a tin on the dresser and hid the rifle beneath the blankets on the bed."

Police at the murder scene in Ngakuru in November. Photo / File
Police at the murder scene in Ngakuru in November. Photo / File

He then returned to the kitchen and made himself another coffee.

He had just sat down at the table to drink it when Patricia returned and went into the office.

Michael greeted her again but this was not returned.

He got up from the table, went to the bedroom and retrieved the rifle, walked down the hallway to the office door.

Patricia was sitting in the office.

"The defendant aimed and fired a shot from the rifle at the deceased's head; he actioned the rifle, loading another round into the chamber and again, aimed and fired a shot at the deceased's head."

The injuries were fatal.

He then dropped the rifle in the hallway, called police and said, "I have murdered my wife, I shot her".

"After a brief exchange with the call taker, he left the phone line open but abandoned the call."

The summary said Michael Douthett then got into his Toyota Land Cruiser and left.

He drove along Whirinaki Rd towards State Highway 30, and then along the highway towards Rotorua.

"The defendant drove his vehicle into the front of a logging truck in an attempt to end his life. He suffered no injuries. He abandoned his vehicle and began walking toward Rotorua.

"He saw another truck approaching and lay on the road in front of it. The truck braked heavily and avoided the defendant. The defendant got up and continued to walk toward Rotorua."

A short distance down the road he was picked up by somebody he knew and asked to be dropped off at the Rotorua Police Station.

Upon arrival, he saw Constable Allen and told him "I have just killed my wife".

In explanation, Douthett said he was having difficulty with the sale of the farm and Patricia "kept throwing a spanner in the works".

"Today it all got too much, and I shot her."

Douthett will appear for sentencing on August 29.


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


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