Schizophrenic gunman who killed six is released

Raurimu massacre gunman Stephen Anderson has been released from psychiatric care and is living in a suburban home.

Anderson gunned down 10 people killing six of them, including his father Neville in one of the worst mass murders in New Zealand's history.

A paranoid schizophrenic, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity of six murders and four attempted murders and locked up in full-time secure psychiatric care.

But Sunday News today revealed that Anderson, 37, is moving freely about Wellington in his own car and lives in a brick bungalow in a sleepy street in the suburb of Clouston Park, Upper Hutt.

Anderson's mum Helen said her son is now "getting on with his life" and "is not newsworthy".

Mental Health director Dr David Chaplow said Anderson's treatment was continuing and getting him back into the community under strict release conditions would help rehabilitate him.

But Isabel McCarty, shot in the back by Anderson, who also killed her husband Anthony in the 1997 bloodbath, is outraged.

"It is another example of New Zealand not punishing people who do something wrong," McCarty added.

"There has been no apology, remorse, nothing from him whatsoever. And I have known him since he was about three or four years old. So it is not as though he doesn't know the family."

McCarty said she had been made aware Anderson was out of full-time care, but she hadn't been told by health officials.

She said she and other victims of the massacre and their families had previously been informed they would not be formally notified of his release.

"We were told we weren't allowed to know anything because he was found guilty on the grounds of insanity," she said.

"It is ridiculous. He had been smoking marijuana. He had been as high as a kite and he gets off on insanity."

At the time of the killings, Anderson was under the care of Capital and Coast's community mental health team in Wellington after being diagnosed two years earlier as a paranoid schizophrenic.

He had resisted taking his medication, was obsessed with firearms and used cannabis heavily before he ran amok with his father's shotgun at his parents' lodge at Raurimu, in the central North Island.

He shot dead his 60-year-old father Neville, Anthony McCarty, 63, Stephen Hanson, 38, John Matthews, 28, Andrea Brander, 52, and Hendrick (Henk) Van de Wetering, 51.

He also wounded four others, including Isabel McCarty.

She said she visited the secure psychiatric facility he was detained at, in Porirua, shortly after his murder trial.

"We were invited by the Health Department at the time to go and look at the facility he was in," she said.

"A couple of people were a bit worried that he would get out and wave his gun around again.

"I thought then that it was like a holiday home really.

"It had a gym room, they can play games and have a room to themselves."

McCarty said she lived with permanent reminders of Anderson's shooting spree.

"With all the shrapnel I have in me, I never know if any of it is going to move or do any damage."

McCarty part of a group of Wellington friends, workmates and neighbours at the Anderson family lodge when Stephen Anderson emerged with his father's shotgun at breakfast and started firing said she no longer had contact with Helen Anderson.

"His mother is his biggest advocate," she said.

"She will stick up for him to the nth degree, even though he killed his father.

"She wrote me a letter suggesting I go up to Raurimu with her for Easter that same year, two months or something (after the massacre). Funny ideas I am afraid."

Helen Anderson was reluctant to talk about her son's freedom, telling Sunday News: "He is not newsworthy.

"I am sorry, I can't help you there. He is just getting on with his life.

"[We don't] need anything like that coming up now thank you."

Stephen Anderson's aunt Toni Curley had earlier confirmed he was now out of full-time institutional care.

Asked how often she saw her nephew, she said: "Sometimes [but] not all that much."

Another of Stephen Anderson's victims, Eve Spencer, shot in the elbow by him before diving into bushes to escape, said she bore him no ill will.

"He is a human being and he is following his path," she said. "He did what he did and no doubt he has paid for it.

"There really is nothing to say. It is all in the past now. It was bad at the time especially for the people he killed, their wives and partners.

"But we just try not to think about it now. We have moved on."

Spencer's husband, Raymond, was shot in the side of the head by Anderson before he and his wife were able to flee to safety.

Neither was aware of his release until contacted by Sunday News but Eve said they were not concerned.

"I don't suppose he will bother us," she said.

"There was no real reason in the first place, except he was thinking we were out to get him or something.

"It was nothing personal." Asked if 12 years had been long enough in care following the shooting, she said: "I don't know what treatment they have or what he is like now.

"I don't know anything about him. I didn't know that much before."

She said she and her husband had made full recoveries from the shootings.

"We have come through quite a bit. We are OK now."

Spencer said she was no longer in contact with Helen Anderson.

"No, not really since that year," she said.

Sunday News