Hunt family murders: witness describes tense final night at farm

Kim and Geoff Hunt. Photo: The Daily Advertiser Geoff and Kim Hunt with their children Phoebe (left), Mia and Fletcher Photo: Les Smith
Shanghai night field

Detective Senior Constable John Cosgrove and Detective Sergeant Darren Gunn carry evidence into the Wagga courthouse, including what is believed to have been a shotgun involved in the deaths of the Hunt family. Photo: Kieren L.Tilly

Geoff Hunt’s ‘it’s all my fault’ note revealed during Wagga Wagga inquestTown of Lockhart struggles over loss of “beautiful family”

Lorraine Bourke was waiting for the Hunt children to arrive home at the farm where their mother lay dead. Then someone told her the children had not been at school that day. “Deep down inside, I thought the worst that the kids were somewhere inside the house dead,” she has told a coroner.

Kim Hunt, 41, and her three children, Fletcher, 10, Mia, 8, and Phoebe, 6, were found shot dead at the farmstead. The body of Geoff Hunt, 44, and a shotgun were recovered from a nearby dam the day after that.

Ms Bourke appeared on Wednesday in the Coroner’s Court at Wagga Wagga, which has heard evidence that Geoff likely killed his family and himself.

A disability support worker, she was ​the last person to see the Hunt family alive. She noticed something about Geoff the night before she found Kim’s body.

“He was not responding, not answering questions,” she said. “There was no emotion on his face.”

Normally when his wife, Kim, criticised him he would reply: “That’s enough.” On the final night, he said nothing at all.

Ms Bourke had helped around the house on the family’s property, Watch Hill, near Lockhart in south-west NSW since Kim was in a car accident in 2012. But when Ms Bourke arrived at 3.30pm on September 8, she felt something was different.

“It was like you could cut the air with a knife,” she said. Kim’s car crash had left her with brain injuries that made her angry, frustrated and unable to control her moods. But on that day, Kim seemed especially angry at Geoff, Ms Bourke said. He had played golf on the weekend, leaving Kim to look after the kids.

Then there were the allegations he had cheated when umpiring on Sunday at an under-14s football game, in which his son Fletcher played.

Ms Bourke overheard Fletcher tell his mother he had been teased at school by other students saying “Geoff Hunt the c— ” and “Fletcher Hunt the c—“. Kim calmed her son and told him not to worry.

But she remained angry at Geoff throughout the night as she brought up financial concerns. The inquest heard on Monday the Hunt family farm was prosperous but Geoff worried about the demands of harvest time.

Ms Bourke asked Kim that night if she thought Geoff was depressed. Kim replied that she had “the shits” with him.

Geoff prepared the family’s meal, made the school lunches and watched Home and Away with the children. Kim said to Ms Bourke: “Look at him, lazy and not doing anything.”

When Ms Bourke left about 7.30pm, Geoff said to her: “Goodbye Lainie. Thanks, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The next day she returned to the farm where she found Kim’s body under Geoff’s blue work jackets and a shell casing nearby. “Straight away I thought to myself, ‘He’s shot her’,” Ms Bourke said.

She found inside an apparent suicide note from Geoff on a placemat his daughter Phoebe had made for him as a Father’s Day present. “I’m sorry, it’s all my fault, totally mine,” it said.

Ms Bourke described Kim as a “firecracker” who would do anything for her kids. She said Geoff was a private man who loved his family and never raised his voice.

“I can only assume that Geoff was under immense pressure in many aspects of his life, including living with Kim’s disability and her changed personality and may have simply just snapped.”

The inquest continues.

*Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732; Lifeline 131 114; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

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