It is no surprise Tully was found guilty of murdering two WINZ staff. Now the trial is over the survivors and friends and families can start rebuilding their lives.
At the time of the killing, some on the left such as Sue Bradford blamed it on Government policies. The Herald reported:
Former Green MP Sue Bradford has drawn an outraged response after saying the Government’s “brutal policies” led to today’s attack on Ashburton Work and Income staff.
Ms Bradford, a life-long unemployment activist who now lectures in social practice at Unitec, tweeted: “Shocking news coming in of Work & Income shooting: awful, but a risk when office becomes front for brutal policies.”
Many on the left condemned what Bradford said. But others like Bradbury supported her.
So with that in mind, the profile of Tully by Martin van Beynen is worth reading. Some extracts:
When Russell John Tully turned to murder, he was 49 and going nowhere.
Homeless and living rough on the outskirts of the solid farming town of Ashburton, he had a bivvy in scrub around the Ashburton River. Later searches of his camps showed he had a sweet tooth and liked corn chips. He was not a tidy Kiwi.
After selling his car, a push bike was his only mode of transport. He appeared to have few possessions, no cash and zero prospects. His income was a disability benefit. If he had made money working in the mines in Australia, as he claimed, nothing appeared to be left.
Not one to accept his predicament stoically, he was continually seeking grants from Work and Income to supplement his benefit. He wanted grants for food, housing and medicines. The world owed him a living.
Tall – about 182 centimetres, six feet – and clear-eyed, he did not seem in bad health but complained of a skin complaint which affected his joints. A local newspaper reported he had come home to Ashburton to die. He often wore thick gloves and began signing papers with an X saying he couldn’t sign his name.
If he didn’t get what he wanted he became intimidating and aggressive. As it turned out he also harboured a terrible grudge.
A terrible sense of entitlement. To this day it is less than clear that he was disabled and/or unable to work.
His promising start seems to have been derailed at some stage. He appeared before the Blenheim District Court in November, 2002, on threatening to kill and presenting a firearm charges.
The charges came from an incident where his landlord went to his Picton flat to serve an eviction notice. He found Tully cleaning a rifle and putting a silencer on it. He claimed Tully pointed the gun at him and threatened to “waste” him.
So this is not some nice guy driven over the edge by the system. This is a guy with a history of violence and firearms. It would be interesting to know why he was evicted.
By 2013, he was back in New Zealand drifting around camping grounds in North Canterbury. He spent time at the Waikuku Beach Holiday Park, the Riverland Holiday Park in Kaiapoi and the Rangiora Holiday Park.
An altercation at the Rangiora Holiday Park resulted in a complaint to the police. He was asked to leave several of the camping grounds because of his mouthy attitude.
Again, not a good person.
He will get sentenced to life in jail. The question is how long the non parole period is. For a double murder and such a level of planning, I hope the non parole period is at least 25 years. Personally I don’t see any realistic possibility of him contributing to society in the future.