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'No ghosts' in infamous home

Last updated 05:00 11/12/2013
Fairfax NZ

The home-owner at the Bassett Road address where two men were killed reflects on the historic house she lives at.

115 Bassett Road
MODERN DAY: The house at 115 Bassett Road, in Remuera, Auckland, as it looks today - 50 years after the bodies of two men were found inside.

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The owner of a house at the centre of an infamous 50 year-old double murder says she may one day put a commemorative plaque on the fence.

Mother-of-four Annick Larkin lives in the Remuera villa where Frederick "Knucklehead" Walker, a 38-year-old commercial traveller, and Kevin Speight, a 26-year-old seaman, were shot dead on December 3, 1963.

The Bassett Rd machine gun murders took place in her lounge.

They resulted in the arrest and conviction of two notorious criminals, John Gillies and Ronald Jorgensen.

Gillies is dead and Jorgensen disappeared after a staged car crash in 1984 but public fascination in the story continues.

A newly published book, New Zealand's Gangster Killings: The Bassett Road Machine-Gun Murders, by Scott Bainbridge, marks the latest anniversary.

But the Larkins knew nothing of the case when they first looked at 115 Bassett Rd four years ago.

"As we were signing on the dotted line, the agent said ‘do you know about the history of the house?'," Mrs Larkin says.

They didn't and the agent suggested they go to the library.

Mrs Larkin is now a bit of an expert and can point out where the bodies were located and where bullet holes dotted the walls.

She says the house was divided into flats at the time of the killings and was a hangout for criminals of the day.

Her daughter's bedroom was where sly-grogging took place in an era when pubs closed at 5pm and after hours supplies of alcohol were obtained illegally.

Mrs Larkin says the house frequently appears on Twitter and people often take photos over the fence.

But it is her home and she has no reservations about its past.

She's even considering a plaque outside to acknowledge its significance.

"I have never ever had a bad feeling since we moved here," Mrs Larkin says.

"Definitely no ghosts."

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- East And Bays Courier

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