Gun-mad maniac slept with a pig

from page 7 of The Star, April 30, 1996

by Macer Hall

  The psycho behind the Tasmanian massacre was a twisted loner who slept with a pig, it emerged yesterday.
  Martin Bryant (28) led a bizarre solitary lifestyle on the southern Australian island.
  He sickened neighbours and former friends around the penal colony of Port Arthur by his obsession with firearms and constant threats to shoot people.
  Last night he was in custody last night after his bloody rampage with two semi-automatic rifles -- which left at least 34 dead and 18 injured.
  Police were last night trying to find the body of a missing person they fear is the 35th victim -- in the ashes of a fire started by Bryant soon before his capture.
  Police said the dead were aged from three to 72.


  Bryant was known to wander around toting guns under cover of darkness -- and snuggle up to his pet porker during the day.
  Experts reckon Bryant -- like Dunblane mass killer Thomas Hamilton -- yearned to wreak horific revenge on a community which shunned him.
  He had a long history of mental illness and was thought to be schizophrenic.
  Bryant sprayed bullets into a cafe at the site of the colonial prison where thousands of Irish convicts once suffered a miserable life in chains.
  Twenty people died in the cafe as they ate lunch.
  Then Bryant blasted sightseers in the street before gunning down drinkers at a pub.
  He was finally brought to justice as he fled from a fire after a 16-hour siege at a guest house.
  His two powerful military weapons -- a self-loading AR-15 rifle and an SKS assault rifle -- were recovered yesterday.


  A large stockpile of weapons was found hidden at his home.
  Bryant was turned into a simmering cauldron of rage by personal tragedy.
  Five years ago, his only pal Helen Harvey -- in her 50s -- who he lived with at a remote farm, was killed in a car crash.
  Recently his father drowned in suspected suicide.
  Bryant's shattered mum was being consoled by an Anglican priest last night.
  He was taken -- strapped on a stretcher -- to the Royal Hobart Hospital after suffering burns in the guest house fire.
  Five of his victims were fighting for their lives in the same hospital.
  The dead included three Asians, two Malaysians, one Indian, a New Zealander, and at least 25 Australians.
  The New Zealander -- 29-year-old winemaker Jason Winter -- was shot when he threw himself in front of family members.
  He died instantly.
  Nineteen people were injured, including two Canadians and one American.
  Australian prime minister John Howard yesterday vowed to tighten the country's gun laws.

[images: "Loner: 28-year-old killer Martin Bryant" (11x16)
"Arrest: Bryant is taken to an ambulance" (7x9)
"Killer's Car: A blanket hides a pool of blood" (7x10)
"Fatal Fire: The remains of the guest house" (7x6) ]

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