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Stanley Graham
Stanley Graham, NZ first mass killer was brought up in Longford, Kokatahi. He was baptized Eric Stanley Graham but was called Stan. Graham's mother had left him a 40 hectare farm in Koiterangi. In 1931, after obtaining a loan from a retired Koiterangi farmer called Joseph Max, Stan and his wife Dorothy moved onto the property. The loan was for 550 pounds and would enable the Grahams to build a home and sheds, and buy livestock to start their farm.
Graham's property was situated in the middle of Koiterangi, facing the main road and opposite the main hall, school and church. The Grahams were not sociable and never attended community dances.

The Grahams had two children, a boy and a girl. In early 1938 Graham started to provoke arguments and alienate himself from the community. The Depression hit hard in New Zealand. Graham was one of the farmers who faced extreme hardship. He soon became financially strapped. As the problem got worse, so did his grasp on reality. His milking shed was unhygienic and the Westland Cooperative Dairy Company returned his cream (dyed blue) which caused him to become more furious. In April 1939, Graham threatened a national mortgage agent from Greymouth who was trying to come to an arrangement over a debt for 40 pounds.

Graham was behind in mortgage repayments and had no way of meeting his commitments.

His behaviour took a turn for the worse and he started threatening and abusing neighbours passing his house. Graham and his wife practiced target shooting out the back of their home at 4:00am. Graham was an expert marksman and had an assortment of firearms.

To help the war effort in May 1941, the police were directed to collect all .3O3 rifles from householders, to be used in the war.

Local constable,Ted Best, went to visit Graham to collect his .303 rifle whi
His behaviour took a turn for the worse and he started threatening and abusing neighbours passing his house.
ch Graham said he didn't have and then changed his story and said he would send it to him. He did not send the rifle as promised. On another visit, Graham told Constable Best the police would have to prosecute him to get it. An inspector in Greymouth, on receiving Constable Best's report on Graham decided to prosecute him for not handing over his rifle.

On the fifteenth of July 1941, Graham said he'd give the rifle to the police, so the prosecution was dropped.

Graham's persecution complex worsened. He thought his neighbours were poisoning his livestock. It was in fact his lack of hygiene in the milking shed that caused stock to die.

When he confronted his neighbour and a carpenter with a rifle, Constable Best was called. The Constable had no success reasoning with Graham and withdrew to get reinforcements.

Four police returned to Graham's farm, Sergeant William Cooper and Constables Best, Tulloch and Jordan. After a struggle Cooper was shot in the arm and Best in the hand. The other constables were gunned down on the track from the farm. Best tried to help them and was shot in the back. Cooper tried to get away but was also shot dead. Best though wounded, was still alive.

Graham escaped into the bush and one of New Zealand's largest manhunts followed. After 13 days he was shot and died the next day in hospital. He had killed seven people.


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Stanley Graham who threatened his neighbours with firearms shot 3 constables dead while they attempted to disarm him.

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