Man in apparent murder-suicide named

WILMA MCCORKINDALE, KATIE KENNY AND TOM HUNT
Last updated 14:50 16/01/2014

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The friends of two children at the centre of an apparent murder-suicide in Dunedin have begun turning up at their community school to share their grief.

Bradley and Ellen Livingstone, aged 9 and 6, were shot last night in a house in the suburb of St Leonards by a man understood to be their estranged father Edward Livingstone.

St Leonard's School principal Jo Wilson said the tight-knit school community was struggling to come to grips with the shooting, which happened only a few blocks away.

"We are all really upset. Because it's such a small school we are all family."

The Ministry of Education trauma team had visited the 68-pupil school and offered support.

Parents and their children had been invited to gather at the school to grieve and come to terms with what had happened, she said

"If they need to they can talk and if they don't they can sit. It's just being together more than anything else."

Wilson would talk to the slain children's mother about a way of remembering the children, but "we haven't got that far yet".

HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION

An emergency call was made at 9.55pm after neighbours heard gunshots from the house and the Armed Offenders Squad was sent to the address.

A neighbour who tried to save the children attempted to wrestle a gun off the man who shot them.

The neighbour went to the house after their mother, Katharine Livingstone, ran next-door for safety.

Katharine Livingstone, who lived at the Kiwi St house with her two children, was "terrified" of the man, a neighbour said.

A homicide investigation was launched after the bodies of the man, 51, and the boy and girl were discovered in the house.

Police said they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident.

Police were releasing little information about the events surrounding the shooting and Inspector Greg Sparrow declined to discuss details of the scene.

Sparrow described the case as absolutely tragic, and said the investigation would be a lengthy one.

He said Katharine Livingstone was staying with family in Dunedin.

The rough cast renovated bungalow where the shootings took place had its curtains drawn this morning, but a television was still on inside.

The house was surrounded by police tape, with police on guard. A car was still parked in the garage. Residents said police cordons were set up on State Highway 88 north and south of Kiwi St, shortly after 10pm.

Around 15 police and ESR staff are working on the investigation. A forensic examination of the scene was underway.

THREATS OF VIOLENCE

Police had been to the house before after threats of violence had been made by the man, neighbours told reporters.

Police said the man had breached protection orders twice because of contact by phone last August and September, was arrested and had appeared in court. 

Edward Livingstone was a Visits Property officer at Department of Corrections, according to an online CV.

A Corrections spokeswoman said he had worked at Otago Prison since late 2007 as an administration support officer.
The job involved performing basic administrative duties. The department was aware of protection orders issued against him the spokeswoman said.

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A contact at Otago Corrections Facility said several staff had taken stress leave today, as a result of the shootings.

Some worked alongside Livingstone.

He was "a real weirdo and an oddball", the contact said.

DEATHS 'DEVASTATING'

The wife of the neighbour who tried to wrestle the gun off the man said the deaths were "devastating" and "horrific", and unexpected in the quiet Otago Harbour suburb. 

"It's a huge thing and we're trying to get our heads around it."

Chalmers Community Board chairman Steve Walker confirmed the two children attended St Leonards School, which would take one of the ''biggest hits''.

He believed the school would become a centre for community support: ''The tragedy is magnified because we live in - ironically - such a safe community.''

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, who first heard about the incident when called by Fairfax Media this morning, said he was ''appalled'' at the deaths.

''The children are gone but the family left behind, they are the ones that will be in pain.''

Women's Refuge said the tragedy was a reminder of how much more needed to be done to address domestic and family violence.

"We need to concentrate on the fact that there is a link between breaches of protection orders and domestic violence murders in this country," chief executive Heather Henare said.

"This man had a violent track record, two breaches of a protection order and all breaches of protection orders should be treated with the full force of our law. 

"This tragic incident is the worst kind of wake up call for this country around the severity and frequency of domestic and family violence in our communities."

- Stuff

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