Scott Guy murder: Who gunned down young farmer on his driveway?
THE morning of his death began like any other for Scott Guy.
The New Zealand farmer rose at the usual time of about 4.30am, not waking his pregnant wife Kylee and their young son Hunter as he left the house and drove down a driveway in his ute towards the road. His destination was the farm shed just over a kilometre away.
But on the morning of July 8, 2010, Mr Guy only made it as far as the gate. Because waiting for him in the dark with a shotgun was his killer.
When he stopped to open the gate, the 31-year-old would have seen who it was that stepped out of the shadows and opened fire. They were briefly face to face separated by no more than four metres. With no time to react, the gunman shot him. A bullet tore open his throat and left such a severe wound it looked like someone had tried to decapitate him.
As he lay spread-eagled on the ground, his blood trickled into a distinctive footprint left around the body, proof that the killer paused close to the body before leaving in the darkness.
The police pointed the finger at his brother-in-law Ewen Macdonald, but a jury acquitted him of the crime.
Although he was cleared of murder, Macdonald was jailed for crimes against Scott and Kylee Guy that were uncovered during the murder investigation.
The now 35-year-old faced the parole board this week after serving time for those charges, and will be released from prison next month.
But the family of Mr Guy told news.com.au that his release was a prospect they were apprehensive about.
Ewen Macdonald on the first day of his trial. Picture: New Zealand Herald
Police forensic teams at the murder scene. Picture: New Zealand HeraldSource:Supplied
EWEN MACDONALD: BROTHER-IN-LAW, BUSINESS PARTNER, ACQUITTED KILLER
The death of Scott Guy shocked the community of Feilding, a quiet, small farming community in the lower North Island where some residents felt safe enough to keep their doors unlocked.
Widow Kylee Guy, heavily pregnant with the couple’s second son, filled television screens and front pages, her agony and grief plain for everyone to see. The brutal death of a handsome, hard working, ordinary family man stunned New Zealanders and puzzled police, who hunted for months for a suspect and a motive.
Mr Guy supposedly had no enemies but police revealed a property he and Kylee owned was vandalised and offensive personal messages were sprayed on the walls. And on the day he died, three small puppies went missing from the property.
There were rumours of everything from drugs to affairs. All were checked out but led to nothing.
Almost a year went by before, finally, a breakthrough. A 30-year-old man was arrested for murder. And like a twist in the best television thriller, when the accused walked into the dock in the courtroom it was Ewen Macdonald, Scott Guy’s brother-in-law and business partner.
Bryan Guy, Scott’s father, said of the arrest: “Over the last few months, we have all been suspects.”
The arrest of one of their own stunned the Guy and Macdonald families. Macdonald had been part of the Guy clan since he was 16, at first as a farm worker and then boyfriend and later husband of Anna Guy, Scott’s sister.
Scott Guy had been his best man at his sister’s wedding to Macdonald. And Macdonald had even carried Mr Guy’s casket at his funeral.
The family members spoke to media about their shock of Macdonald’s arrest, their openness surprising many. On the outside at least, this appeared to be a normal New Zealand family. What could have gone so wrong? And how did no one see it coming?
Ewen Macdonald joins wife Anna and other family members carrying Scott Guy’s casket from the church.Source:Supplied
It took more than a year before the case went before a jury but when it did, the question everyone wanted answered was why? What was the motive?
The case went straight to trial without a committal hearing and strict suppression orders meant details of the police case against Macdonald weren’t revealed until the trial’s opening day.
The Crown told the court how the relationship between the two men had become tense and unfriendly. Macdonald was fearful he would lose his place on the farm and resented Scott Guy for his work ethic and perceived bias from his father Bryan Guy, who remained a partner in the farm.
Most startling was the admission by Macdonald that he targeted Scott and Kylee with vandalism and threatening graffiti. It was done to “annoy” them, he claimed, but the Crown said the violent damage and fear campaign was done to terrify Kylee Guy so much she wanted to leave the farm.
And he also admitted to completing “missions” on neighbouring farms, poaching valuable stags as revenge for being trespassed on previous occasions. In a further incident, he confessed to the violent killing of 19 calves — again, it appeared, out of revenge.
Kylee Guy was emotional as she was cross-examined during the trial. Picture: New Zealand HeraldSource:Supplied
Bryan Guy and daughter Anna after the verdict when Anna’s then husband was found not guilty of murdering her brother Scott. Picture: New Zealand HeraldSource:Supplied
Jealousy. Fear. Anger. Resentment. But did that equal murder? The defence said no, that the case was a classic whodunit, a murder mystery that hadn’t been solved by the police.
Throughout five weeks of evidence, each family member took multiple turns in the witness box. Kylee Guy, crying for her husband as she touched her wedding ring, Anna Macdonald noticeably without her ring, as their family life was laid bare for everyone to pick over.
Eventually the verdict arrived. Not guilty. Kylee Guy reacted in disbelief and ran from the courtroom.
Outside court, Anna stood tearfully next to her father Bryan, who read a carefully worded statement expressing their relief that the trial process at least was over.
Stony faced detectives insisted they left no stone unturned and said they were not looking for anyone else for the murder.
Macdonald was held in custody until he was sentenced on the charges he’d pleaded guilty to.
The Guy family admits the prospect of watching Macdonald walk free is not something they’re looking forward to.
Speaking with news.com.au ahead of the parole board decision, Scott’s father Bryan Guy said the family have been trying to ignore the looming date.
“I don’t know whether we are dreading it. It’s difficult for the family; we always knew this time would come around. Up until now I guess we just put it into the back of our minds and tried not to think about it.”
He said the release will be especially hard on Anna and the four children she has with Macdonald.
“Not surprisingly, it’s been very hard on Anna and the kids. He is still their father.”
Because of that link, Mr Guy knows some form of contact with Macdonald in the future will be inevitable.
“But we will not be seeking him out. That is not something we will be doing. We don’t want anything to do with him,” he said.
Scott and Kylee Guy.Source:Supplied
Scott and Kylee Guy have two sons, Hunter and Drover.Source:Supplied
Macdonald wrote to them from his jail cell at one point, saying he hoped to one day be able to speak to them. Mr and Mrs Guy didn’t respond.
The lies and the “vindictive” acts directed at their family — and the betrayal — were too powerful to get past.
“There is just no trust there and whatever he would say wouldn’t mean anything anyway I don’t think,” Mr Guy said.
So what does he think of the man who was acquitted of killing his oldest son?
“Not much really; the trust has gone. The stuff he’s admitted to, the vengeful stuff, the arson and all those things,” Mr Guy said.
Mr Guy though truly believed that one day his son’s killer would be brought to justice.