When young part-time Queenstowner Callum Boe helped Ewen Macdonald kill 19 calves with a hammer, he realised his older sidekick was “capable of doing anything”, the Queenstown District Court was told.
The “vulnerable” Boe – then aged 18 – feared if he didn’t go along with Macdonald’s revenge attacks between 2006 and 2009, he’d be the next target for retribution.
Boe’s lawyer Anne Stevens made the startling revelations in Queenstown District Court last September, when her client was sentenced to two years’ prison for arson, theft and intentional damage.
Details of Boe’s sentencing were suppressed while Macdonald was on trial for the murder of brother-in-law Scott Guy. Macdonald was found not guilty of the mid-2010 killing.
After the trial, the remaining three of six charges jointly faced by Boe and Macdonald were unveiled – intentionally killing 19 calves, destroying 16,000 litres of milk and burning down an historic duck shooters’ lodge.
Mountain Scene can now also reveal that it was the brutal calf-killings which brought fear to Boe, according to Stevens.
“That incident changed his view of Macdonald,” she told the court.
“He now saw a callous man capable of doing anything.”
Boe was afraid if he refused to go along with any of the subse-quent missions, Macdonald would carry out revenge attacks on him or his grandparents, Stevens told judge Kevin Phillips during her submissions on Boe’s behalf.
“He was vulnerable to an older, manipulative man and he behaved in a way that is entirely out of character,” she said.
The pair’s secret revenge attacks on Manawatu farmers Graham Sexton and Paul Barber came after being caught illegally poaching deer on the farmers’ land. Both were issued with trespass notices.
They decided to retaliate by going to Sexton’s milking shed at night and emptying a milk vat containing 16,000L of milk, five years ago today. They then headed to Barber’s farm to do the same – but after discovering the milk had already been collected, they decided to kill the calves instead.
Three other joint charges made public during Macdonald’s murder trial include shooting two $7500 prized stags and stealing their carcasses, burning down Scott and Kylee Guy’s old homestead on removal trailers and vandalising the Guy’s new home under construction.
Boe was orphaned as a child after his father died in a car crash and his mother died of cancer a few years later. He lived with his paternal grandparents in Fielding for seven years. Between the age of 12 and 15, he went to work on the Guy family farm.
Macdonald became a role model to Boe, establishing common ground with farming and hunting, Stevens told the court.
“At the time of the offending, Mr Boe was a young man and was desperately looking for a father figure. Ewen Macdonald showed him attention, taught him farming skills as well as hunting skills … someone who he would like to emulate.”
Macdonald’s father Kerry told this month’s North & South magazine that Boe and his son are “two reasonably good kids but when they put them together it’s like baking soda and vinegar, or gunpowder – it just erupted”.
Macdonald’s mother Marlene told the magazine that of the offences, her son “felt sick straight after and knew [he’d] done wrong”.
When she asked her son why he did it, he replied: “Cos I thought I was bulletproof and could get away with it.”
Stevens told Judge Phillips that Glenorchy farmers Mark and Amanda Hasselman offered to provide Boe a project for community work because “he is a young man worthy of support”.
Amanda declined to comment this week, as did Boe’s older brother Reon who lives in Queenstown.
Boe, 23, was freed in June after serving half his sentence in custody and jail, Stevens told Mountain Scene this week.
Stevens is not aware if he lives in the Wakatipu anymore.
Macdonald is still in custody awaiting sentence for the theft, arson and damage charges.