Clay Wesley Thompson
From the Dominion 12th December 1997
It had all the ingredients of a grisly murder mystery. But Clay Thompson did not count on his victim surviving to tell police how he was shot in the back of the head at close range, with a .22 bullet skimming under his skin and lodging in the side of his head, narrowly missing his skull and brain. Thompson, 26, also did not expect Gordon McNab to wrestle the modified gun off him and run stunned from the scene with blood still dripping from his head wound.
Police say Mr McNab, 31, is one of the luckiest men alive. Thompson was not so lucky. He has begun an eight-year, nine-month prison sentence for the attempted murder of his friend. Attempts by reporters to find Mr McNab were fruitless. He was last known to be in the Bay of Plenty. The High Court at Hamilton was told that Thompson and Mr McNab were staying at a house at the base of Mt Te Aroha on October 22.
Police say both men were involved in drug dealing, particularly cannabis. An argument at the house the night before about recovering drug debts appears to have sparked the shooting. In a bizarre and calculated plan hatched by Thompson, Mr McNab was lured up the slopes of Mt Te Aroha through dense bush to a dugout Thompson would often go to when he wanted to "get away from it all". Once there, Thompson showed Mr McNab what appeared to be a home- made sawn-off firearm.
As Mr McNab sat on the edge of the dugout looking down the mountain and smoking a cigarette, Thompson shot him in the back of the head at close range. The court was told how Mr McNab, stunned by the impact of the shooting and with blood streaming from his head, wrestled the gun off Thompson and fled. He hid the gun in the garden of a house, where he sought help from a resident who called police.
Thompson had attached a metal table leg to the barrel of the gun to make it look like a sub-machine gun. In interviews after his arrest, Thompson told police he had specifically aimed for a part of Mr McNab's head where he thought the bullet would enter between the lobes of the brain. He said Mr McNab had annoyed him "in a variety of ways" and he had had enough, so he had shot him. Thompson also told police he got the gun "on the street" and knew from the time he had it that one day he would use it to shoot someone.
Mr McNab spent half a day in hospital after having the bullet removed. Thompson eluded police for 12 hours after the shooting, travelling around the Te Aroha-Paeroa area and telling at least three people what he had done. He eventually gave himself up at a house at Manawaru, near Matamata, when he was confronted by armed police. Police were concerned Thompson would leave the area if he knew they were searching for him. But he offered no resistance when police found him holed up in the Manawaru house. A psychiatric report ordered by the courts was clear.
Date of Birth
Attempted murder of Gordon McNab in Te Aroha in October 1997
Unlawfully possessing a pistol, commission of a crime with a firearm, burglary and unlawfully taking a car
Sentenced to 8 years 9 months in December 1997
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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