Alleged NZ shooter’s Cairns dad speaks out


THE father of an accused New Zealand gunman alleged to have shot Victorian tourist Sean McKinnon has spoken out.

The Cairns man, who cannot be identified, made a brief statement in the wake of allegations surrounding his son who has been charged with murder.

"It is a pretty difficult time," the man, originally from Rockhampton but now living in Cairns, said.

"My thoughts are with the family (of Mr McKinnon); I won't be making any further comments at this time."

The Cairns man is known for charity work, having helped with fundraisers for cancer.

His 23-year-old son, of Hamilton, appeared in custody at Hamilton District Court, charged with murder, aggravated robbery, making threats to kill and driving while disqualified.

Judge Noel Cocurullo has granted the Hamilton man interim name suppression and remanded him in custody until his next court appearance on August 27.

The alleged shooter had cryptically posted on his father's Facebook page on July 7: "A father can't choose when to be in there sons life when you don't have the wright to say your opinion on rumours you have heard you were the gutless one who left (sic)."

Bianca Buckley and Sean McKinnon.
Bianca Buckley and Sean McKinnon.

It is alleged the gunman shot and killed Mr McKinnon on August 16 in a random attack in the Te Toto Gorge track carpark near Raglan Beach south of Auckland.

The Victorian, 33, and his Canadian fiancee Bianca Buckley, 32, were allegedly woken in their campervan by a man who demanded their keys and then fired into the van.

Ms Buckley fled and ran for two kilometres down a gravel road by full moon until she was helped by two residents at a farmhouse.

The campervan was found with Mr McKinnon's body about 70km away in Gordonton.

The defendant was arrested in a rural area after a police manhunt in the Waikato region.

The body of Mr McKinnon has been returned to his family in Hamilton, after authorities completed a post-mortem examination at the weekend.

Waikato crime manager Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said Mr McKinnon's sisters, brother and his fiancee Bianca Buckley would remain in New Zealand "for the time being" and were being looked after by police and ­victim support teams.