11 May 2009

Arsenal discovered in Napier siege house

10:56 pm on 11 May 2009

Police on Monday removed the body of gunman Jan Molenaar from his Napier home where at least 18 guns have been found at the booby-trapped property.

Molenaar's body was removed from his house at 41 Chaucer Rd where it was found at the end of a 50-hour armed siege which began on Thursday.

The 51-year-old gunman shot and killed Senior Constable Len Snee and wounded two other officers and a civilian.

The last contact with Molenaar was just after 1pm on Friday, shortly before a shot was heard from the house in the suburb of Hill Hospital.

Police on Monday evening released photographs of a bedroom at Molenaar's home which show several weapons on a flowery bedspread with shattered mirror glass.

The firearms include two short-barrelled pump-action shotguns, two semi-automatic rifles and a revolver. Scattered on the bed are bullet magazines, boxes of military rounds, and several empty rifle cartridge cases.

Detective Superintendent Rod Drew says 18 guns have been discovered at the property so far, and booby traps have been found, including electrical current being put onto door handles, barbed wire strung inside the house and nails hammered through sticks hidden outside.

Police are trying to find out where Molenaar's guns came from, how long he had them, and say people with information about this need to come forward.

Molenaar's body has been sent to Wellington for a post-mortem examination. The results are due on Wednesday morning.

Forensic specialists have completed their site examination, but a large number of detectives are still investigating and access around the front of the gunman's property is restricted.

Road blocks from the top and bottom of Chaucer Rd have been removed and residents have been able to return home.

Officer would have died instantly - police

Police revealed on Monday that Senior Constable Snee, who was shot three times during the siege, would have died instantly.

Detective Superintendent Rod Drew told a media conference that Mr Snee, 53, was hit in the forearm, upper torso and lower torso, and neither of the torso wounds would have been survivable. He says bullet fragments from a .223 rifle were found.

Mr Drew said Molenaar was hit by one police bullet on Thursday, fired through the door of his house.

At 1.05pm on Friday, Molenaar told his partner he did not want to come out of this, did not want to go to jail, wanted to do it his way and regretted what he had done.

"At 1.23pm he sent a text to a family member expressing his love for that person and five minutes later a single shot was heard from the address", Mr Drew says.

"There was no contact at all with the gunman from that time onwards, until he was found on the Saturday."

Mr Drew said Molenaar opened fire without warning on the officers on Thursday, and ran towards them to fire more shots as they were dragging themselves away.

Thousands expected at officer's funeral

A full police funeral service will take place for Senior Constable Snee on Wednesday at the Municipal Theatre in Napier.

Eastern District police spokesperson Chris McGehan expects thousands of people will want to attend the service.

Representatives of the Australian police, members of other international police organisations, and members of the New Zealand rugby community will be among those attending, she says.

Community Constable Bruce Miller, 40, and resident Leonard Holmwood, 44, who suffered gunshot wounds on Thursday remain in critical condition in Hawke's Bay Hospital. Dog handler Senior Constable Grant Diver, 50, is in serious but stable condition.

The Police Families Charitable Trust has established a special fund for Mr Snee's family and the injured men's families.

Gunman not a 'Rambo', says brother

Jan Molenaar's brother, Peter, says nobody would have realised the amount of guns and explosives his brother had in his home.

He told Nine to Noon on Monday his brother could lose his temper easily but was a functioning member of society.

"Some things have been said in the paper that he was a Rambo, that he was on steroids, even people saying he was on P, all this kind of stuff," he says. "That's all false, he was just getting on with his life. It was just disrupted that day."

Peter Molenaar says his brother hated people entering the house when he was not at home. His partner let police in when his brother was out on a walk, he says. "He's come home, and three of them in the house, (he) just snapped."

The Police Association says the officers did not know Molenaar was out, and were carrying out a routine warrant visit.

Police 'should have been told' of arsenal

Napier mayor Barbara Arnott says anyone who knew that gunman Jan Molenaar had a collection of weapons is culpable for not telling police about him.

Police say the gunman's house in the suburb of Hospital Hill as stronghold containing improvised explosives, booby traps, many military style semi-automatic weapons and large amounts of ammunition.

Ms Arnott says it seems clear that close friends of Molenaar knew at least something of his weapons collection, and if they did know, they should have passed on that information to police.

Retired policeman Graham Bell, a former detective inspector, says people who know of individuals who have weapons and could be regarded as unstable should let the authorities know.

Neighbours spoken to by Radio New Zealand said though Molenaar looked intimidating as he was powerfully built, they did not know anything about him because he did not talk to many people.