4 Sep 2014

Ashburton remembers shooting victims

8:12 pm on 4 September 2014

Two women killed in shootings at the Ashburton Work and Income office have been remembered by the community tonight.

Ashburton shooting

A scene examination takes places following the Ashburton shooting. Photo: RNZ / Jemma Brackebush

Staff members Peg Noble and Leigh Cleveland were killed and colleague Lindy Curtis injured when they were shot at their workplace on Monday.

About 100 people were at the Returned and Services Association for the weekly Thursday members' night, which Ms Noble was a regular at. A minute's silence was held at 5.55pm.

RSA president Morris Baker said the mood was very sombre and Ms Noble would be greatly missed. He said she was loyal, cheerful and supportive of the RSA, and Ashburton is feeling her loss.

A candle-lit ceremony for Ms Noble and Ms Cleveland would take place at 8pm on Cass Street where the Work and Income office is located. It remains closed and a large cordon is in place as the police investigation continues.

A District Council spokesperson said discussions are under way about a community civic service that is likely to take place towards the end of next week. Meanwhile, plans are in motion to open a bank account for donations to go towards the funeral costs, a resident said.

A friend of Peg Noble's, who wanted to be known as Fitzy, said it would be a sad night at the RSA remembering her.

"With her bubbly smiles we got joking, having a few drinks together. I used to take her home in the courtesy bus at times, we'd be sitting at the pokies having a chat, I've never seen that smile disappear of her face.

"It won't be a happy night like it usually is on a Thursday night. I hope our lives, Ashburton's lives, can come back to normality. It's been the greatest upheaval we've ever seen."

The table where Ashburton shooting victim Peg Noble would sit on a Thursday night at members' night at the RSA.

The table where Ashburton shooting victim Peg Noble would sit on a Thursday night at members' night at the RSA. Photo: RNZ / Jemma Brackebush

Another Ashburton resident, who did not want to be named, said Ms Noble would greet her at reception when she went to Work and Income to get documents signed.

"She was just a lovely, big, smiley, friendly, lady, who always had time for a chat. When I heard what happened, she was the first one I thought of. I have a nephew who's been in and out a few times and he's a young fellow in his mid-20s and he's absolutely devastated. He said she was just so lovely."

WATCH a video from above the town showing where events unfolded on Monday

One hundred extra security guards are being deployed at Work and Income offices nationwide following a rash of threats against the agency since Monday's fatal shootings.

John Tully has been charged with two counts of murder and one of attempted murder. He did not plea when he appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Tuesday and was remanded in custody to reappear on 23 September.

Ashburton shooting

Flowers near the scene of the Ashburton shooting. Photo: RNZ / Jemma Brackebush

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