Father, daughter shot dead

Photographer Peter Lieshout outside the Isla Bank farm house on Hamilton Rd where a father and daughter were found dead in an apparant murder suicide.
Photographer Peter Lieshout outside the Isla Bank farm house on Hamilton Rd where a father and daughter were found dead in an apparant murder suicide.

A Western Southland father and daughter found dead with gunshot wounds to their heads on Thursday afternoon, in what appears to be a murder-suicide, were found in a bedroom of their home, police said yesterday.

A .22 calibre gun was also found.

Police, who have launched a homicide inquiry, yesterday confirmed the deceased as Isla Bank farmer Graeme Dore, 67, and his special needs daughter Sarah-Jane Dore, 27, a powerlifter who competed at the Special Olympics in Shanghai last year.

Sarah Jane Dore
Sarah Jane Dore

They lived at their rural Hamilton Rd property with Mr Dore's wife, Catherine.

A family member found the father and daughter after 5pm.

Detective sergeant Mark McCloy said that, at this stage, police were not looking for anyone else in relation to the shootings.

TRAGIC CORTEGE: Police with the hearse preparing to leave the Dore farm house on Hamilton Rd, at Isla Bank with Graeme Dore, 67, and his daughter Sarah Jane Dore, 27. They were found shot dead in their home on Thursday in an apparant murder-suicide.
TRAGIC CORTEGE: Police with the hearse preparing to leave the Dore farm house on Hamilton Rd, at Isla Bank with Graeme Dore, 67, and his daughter Sarah Jane Dore, 27. They were found shot dead in their home on Thursday in an apparant murder-suicide.

The deaths have shocked those involved with Ruru Special School in Invercargill, where Sarah-Jane was a pupil for about seven years and Graeme was the board of trustees chairman for six years until about 2005.

Board chairman Tom Hackett said the nature of the deaths had stunned those who knew the pair.

"All the thoughts go through your head of what went wrong ... something's gone disastrously wrong." Mr Dore, who was "such a nice man", was a strong advocate in ensuring the rights of parents were met at the school, Mr Hackett said.

Constable Helen Todd stand guard on Hamilton Road as the hearse leaves the Dore farm house at Isla Bank after a father and daughter were found shot dead in an apparant murder suicide.
Constable Helen Todd stand guard on Hamilton Road as the hearse leaves the Dore farm house at Isla Bank after a father and daughter were found shot dead in an apparant murder suicide.

He was also at the forefront of a winning battle waged by the school board to keep the school open when closure was mooted by the Labour Government several years ago, Mr Hackett said.

The school was planning to honour Mr Dore and Sarah-Jane in some way, yet to be decided.

"They were a big part of the Ruru School community." Farm duties at the Dore property were yesterday being carried out by a member of Mr Dore's extended family.

Neighbours spoken to yesterday were stunned that two of their community had been taken in such tragic circumstances, some saying it had yet to sink in.

Mr Dore was president of the Thornbury Bowling Club, where women members played a scheduled bowls tournament yesterday.

"He would have wanted it to go ahead," one of the bowlers said.

Another echoed the thought of several others: "It's a tragic thing. It will have a tremendous effect on the community. They were wonderful people, a wonderful family." Mr Dore had farmed at the property all his life, having taking the farm over from his father, and was a humble and well-liked man who participated in the community, one man said.

Another neighbour said: "I feel sorry for the mum. This is a small community and it is going to be rocked something wicked." It is understood Mr Dore became ill when he was in Shanghai for the Special Olympics with Sarah-Jane last year, and had spent some time in hospital since returning to Southland.

Sarah-Jane competed at the Special Olympic World Summer Games in powerlifting, posting a fourth in the deadlift and three fifth placings in the squat, bench and combination.

The scene remained cordoned off yesterday, with a large police tent in the front yard and police clad in white uniforms investigating the scene.

The bodies were removed from the large brick and roughcast house at 4.30pm and autopsies are to be carried out today.

A Dore family member said the extended family had pulled together.

 

The Southland Times