The former girlfriend of Bassett Rd machinegun murderer Ronald Jorgensen, who mysteriously disappeared in 1984, believes he is still alive and living overseas.



Ann Douglas is sceptical about reports that Jorgensen was seen by a former senior prison officer at the Kumeu Show in West Auckland on March 11, two years after officials declared him dead.



"I think he would still be alive," said Ms Douglas.



"But I couldn't imagine how he would be back in New Zealand, especially at a show in Kumeu."

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She said several sightings of Jorgensen in Perth from 1986 to 1990 were more likely.



Ms Douglas was in a relationship with Jorgensen for 18 months leading up to his disappearance.



His Mark II Cortina was found at the bottom of a 15m Kaikoura sea cliff in December 1984, but his body was never found. He was last seen alive on December 17.



"He certainly didn't die in the car crash. He definitely planned his disappearance," said Ms Douglas.



She believes the crash was part of a ploy by Jorgensen to escape restrictive parole conditions that forced him to live in Kaikoura with his elderly father, whom he did not get on with.



She said the conditions restricted their relationship and interfered with their plans to live together.



Ms Douglas introduced herself to Jorgensen, whom she recognised from news reports, in a Christchurch pub. He looked "lost and forlorn."



They struck up a friendship and she commuted from Christchurch to Kaikoura by bus to see him.



There were signs before his disappearance that he was planning to leave. Two weeks before disappearing, he had returned her letters to him and gave her "everything else that mattered to him."



"He had lost his mother earlier and he gave me his mother's old china, his first set of china he bought his mother, baby photos, his baptism certificate and a couple of his paintings he loved the most."



The last time she saw him, two weeks before his disappearance, she had a feeling she would not see him again. "I looked back and he looked so sad."



On December 16, 1984, she received a letter which was signed off: "Whatever happens, I love you."



She had not heard from him since.



Jorgensen became part of New Zealand criminal folklore history in 1964 when he was sentenced to life in jail with John Frederick Gillies for his part the year before in a mafia-style machinegun murder of Frederick George Walker, a 38-year-old commercial traveller, and seaman Kevin James Speight, aged 26, in Bassett Rd, Remuera.



- NZPA