Devastated wife tries to make sense of double police shooting at Glen Innes

Lesley Newman, pictured right, with Kim Blythe on Monday in Glen Innes. Photo Andrew Messenger
Lesley Newman, pictured right, with Kim Blythe on Monday in Glen Innes. Photo Andrew Messenger

The woman closest to Eric Newman has spoken of her grief and thanked police who came to her rescue during Friday night's shooting.

His wife, Lesley Newman and her sister, Kim Blythe, are still coming to terms with the ordeal.

On Monday they sat down with the Glen Innes Examiner and described how they hid in the back seat of a car and watched the horror unfold as Mr Newman shot Senior Constable Helen McMurtrie and Sergeant Mark Johnston.

"Oh my God I'm just so glad that she's pulling through," Mrs Newman said.

"Ricky would never ever intentionally hurt anybody. He had a lot of respect for the law, he had a lot of respect for the people around here, and they liked him."

Mrs Newman has “no broken bones” but is still in shock and is staying with a friend, John West, in another part of Glen Innes.

"We've had a ton of support, especially my daughter's boss at Glen Industries," the sisters said.

"The local pharmacist, Bill Munro – he's just been wonderful, and John has been our backbone.

“This town is wonderful. It's been so kind to Louise, my daughter, it's been so good to me. I do a lot of voluntary work. I work at a nursing service doing home care, community work. I just think it's a wonderful town.”

On Friday night, the Newman family was having a few drinks - no more than two scotches for Eric, the sisters said. Mrs Newman had wine and was going to bed when she said husband Eric suddenly snapped and started strangling her.

Mrs Newman called the police and then her sister Kim, who drove at high speed from her house a handful of blocks away. By the time she arrived, police had already confronted Mr Newman.

He fired two shots on Saturday night, hitting the officers with the first bullet. Mrs Newman said she heard him call out her name before the game hunter pulled the trigger for the last time, turning the gun on himself.

When we saw the policewoman, Helen, get shot it was just devastating.

"The [other police] were very brave to go and help take her away from any other danger that might have happened."

The pair support the nomination to recommend the three police for bravery awards.

Their young neighbors, Bryce Elliott and a housemate, immediately ran to the aid of the wounded police and are also being considered for bravery recognition.

Mrs Newman described her husband as a "quiet person" who enjoyed 10-day hunting trips on an 80,000 acre property in Mungallalla and big game hunting in Africa. 

They first grew to love Glen Innes driving past on the New England Highway from Sydney for hunting holidays and moved to town around a decade ago.

They bought their large, two-storey house on Church Street and settled down.

The Church Street ,Glen Innes, address where Lesley and Eric Newman lived.

The Church Street ,Glen Innes, address where Lesley and Eric Newman lived.

Mr Newman was planning a surprise birthday party for his wife and her twin sister, sometime before March.

"He was going to get our sister out from Ireland. he was going to pay for the ticket, he was going to get our sister out from WA," Mrs Newman said.

"He had contacted all our family and organised all this.

"That's the sort of person he is. He's a good-hearted man. He had plans for the future.”

Obviously something has snapped.

Lesley Newman

They didn’t learn of Mr Newman’s party plans until after the shooting.

Mrs Newman said she was still trying to process the events of Friday night, but will never get over what happened.

"I'll always love him," she said. "After the two shots, we thought he'd taken off.

"It wasn't until the ambos came to the police station and they told us what happened.”

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This story Devastated wife tries to make sense of Glen Innes police shooting first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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