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Murdered cop's mother welcomes air rifle licensing

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 26 NZPA - The mother of undercover police officer Sergeant Don Wilkson, shot dead with a high-powered air rifle in 2008, has welcomed a new requirement for owners of the guns to be licensed.

Beverley Lawrie said today she was "never so thrilled in all my life" at the legislation, which was long overdue.

"I think it's more than timely that [Police Minister] Judith Collins and those people have come up to speed with the technology that is happening," she told Radio New Zealand.

"These guns have been around for an awful long time and a lot of these guns are in the hands of the wrong people."

But she didn't believe licensing owners would stop criminals getting hold of airguns.

"It'll mean that people just can't go in and buy them from a shop without a licence. And of course criminals are not going to go and buy them anyway, they'll come through the back door somehow."

More police would be shot until police were given greater powers to "go in and grab them (the airguns)", she said.

John Skinner, 38, was last month convicted of murdering Mr Wilkinson with a FX Monsoon air gun during an undercover drugs operation in Mangere.

Mr Wilkinson was shot as he tried to fit a tracking device to a car belonging to Skinner, a suspected drug dealer.

Skinner was also found guilty of attempting to murder a colleague of Mr Wilkinson, after shooting that officer three times with the air rifle.

Co-accused Iain Clegg, 36, was found guilty of manslaughter.

They are due to be sentenced next month.

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