Top 10 Most Dangerous People In New Zealand History

While New Zealand is often celebrated for its safety and peaceful atmosphere, it is not immune to the presence of dangerous individuals who have left a lasting impact on the nation’s history, today we dive inside the Most Notorious Crime Figures in New Zealand’s History.

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10 – Stanley Graham

One of the darkest chapters in New Zealand’s history unfolded on 4th October 1941, in the small seaside village of Aramoana.

Stanley Graham, a resident with a history of disputes with his neighbours, went on a shooting rampage, resulting in the deaths of 13 people, including a police officer.

A considerable man-hunt was carried out which led to parties of police positioned around his home on the 20th October 1990.

He was shot by one of the policemen before being apprehended and taken to a local hospital before he succumbed to his injury’s.

The Aramoana Massacre remains one of the deadliest incidents of its kind in the nation’s history, leaving scars on the tight-knit community.

9 – David Gray

In 1997, New Zealand witnessed another horrifying incident when David Gray, a troubled individual with a history of mental health issues, carried out the Raurimu massacre.

Gray, who had amassed a cache of weapons and ammunition, exhibited a fervent interest in literature on war, weapons, and survival.

While the signs of his mental and physical decline became evident in the six months leading up to the tragic incident, they were only fully realized in hindsight.

Gray opened fire at a lodge, killing 13 people and injuring several others before taking his own life.

8 – Alfred Thomas Vincent

Currently New Zealand’s longest-serving prisoner, Vincent was sentenced to preventive detention after he was convicted in 1968 of performing indecencies on five boys.

Having spent more than 50-years in prison, Vincent first became eligible for parole 37 years ago, and has been refused each time.

Offered weekend leaves in the 1980’s, these were immediately revoked after he was caught trying to talk to children.

7 – Dean Wickliffe

After being abandoned by his mother at the age of seven he lived with his alcoholic father that gave him a fractious and traumatic childhood that led him down the dark path of crime.

Convicted of murdering jeweller Paul Miet during an armed robbery in 1972, he had the charges reduced to manslaughter 12-years later.

After his release he was again convicted of murder before these charges were quashed on appeal.

Re-arrested again in 2010, he was convicted for drug and firearms offences before later being convicted for manufacture and possession of methamphetamine tablets.

He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in March 2012 and was released in 2017, so far not having found to have committed any further crimes that we know of.

He was reported to have escaped the notorious Auckland Prison Twice.

6 – William Dwayne Bell

The son of a notorious gang member, Bell was a ward of the state between the ages of nine and seventeen, and was often in and out of a boys’ home.

He began stealing cars, and his crimes soon escalated, he began to impersonate security guards and cleaners to rob elderly homes.

Bell was turned down for a job at a service station in 1997, later attacking the attendant and spending 5-years in prison.

After his release, he began using methamphetamine and lost his job as a barman and continued his robbery crime spree.

He returned to his former job, carrying a shotgun in a guitar case and shot three people in the chest before bludgeoning them to death with the butt of the gun.

Bell was arrested 5 days after the murders at his mother’s home, clutching a newspaper article about the murders.

Bell was jailed for life, with a minimum non-parole period of 33 years and it has been revealed that he will never be released due to his continuing dangerous nature.

5 – Antoine Dixon

Dixon was a New Zealand criminal who gained notoriety for his involvement in a series of violent and criminal activities.

Born in 1971, Dixon’s criminal record includes offenses ranging from drug-related charges to violent crimes.

However, he became widely known after a particularly gruesome incident in 2003 when he attacked a family in their home in West Auckland.

Armed with a samurai sword, he killed one person and injured several others, including a child, in a violent and seemingly random act.

The incident shocked the nation and led to increased scrutiny of Dixon’s criminal history and mental health.

During his trial, Dixon’s defence argued that he was suffering from mental health issues at the time of the attack but, despite this, he was convicted on multiple charges, including murder, attempted murder, and kidnapping.

In 2005, Dixon was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 21 years.

4 – Minnie Dean

In the annals of New Zealand’s criminal history, Minnie Dean stands out as the only woman ever to be executed.

Known as Williamina McCulloch, she became a notorious crime figure in New Zealand after leaving Scotland in 1844.

In the late 19th century, Minnie Dean operated as an unofficial foster parent, taking in infants from unmarried mothers or families who were unable to care for their children.

She was licensed to run a home for unwanted children in Winton, Southland, by the New Zealand government.

Dean’s reputation took a dark turn when suspicions arose about the high mortality rate of the infants under her care.

In 1895, she was accused of murdering one of the children, and a subsequent investigation uncovered the remains of multiple fatalities.

Minnie Dean’s trial began in 1895, and she was charged with the murder of an infant named Dorothy Edith Carter.

Despite her defence arguing that the deaths were due to natural causes or accidents, Minnie Dean was found guilty and subsequently became the only woman to be executed in New Zealand.

On August 12, 1895, she was hanged at Invercargill Jail.

3 – Raymond Ratima

On the 26th of June 1992, Raymond Whia Ratima, aged 25, committed a gruesome act, taking the lives of seven members of his own family, including three of his children and his eight-months-pregnant sister-in-law.

This horrific incident unfolded at his parents-in-law’s residence. His father-in-law intervened, preventing further tragedy by restraining Ratima from harming additional family members in the house.

Termed ‘The Masterton Massacre,’ this shocking event deeply affected the nation, captivating the attention of people across New Zealand.

Ratima’s court case became a subject of widespread fascination and, Consequently, he received a life sentence and has faced denial of parole on at least 14 occasions.

Unlike some other individuals on this list of perpetrators, Ratima displayed some remorse and contrition during his trial.

He asserted that his actions were out of character and a result of a psychotic break. However, both the judge and the public remained largely unmoved by his claims.

2 – James Reid Baxter

In the tragic event known as ‘The Invercargill Tragedy’ in 1907, James Reid Baxter, employed a shotgun and a makeshift weapon known as a stove scraper to fatally shoot and slash his wife and five children.

The incident was discovered at 11am by the family’s friend, Archibald McLean who called the police and they found Baxter in the bathtub where he had taken his own life.

The consensus was that Baxter was deemed to be in a state of temporary insanity during the commission of these horrifying attacks.

The event has somewhat been forgotten in modern day media circles and a plaque was added to the gravesite in March 2022, too remember the victims.

1 – Brenton Harrison Tarrant

Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist, targeted two mosques Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre during Friday prayers, resulting in the tragic loss of 51 lives and injuring many others.

In what has been deemed New Zealand’s worst terrorist attack, Tarrant live-streamed the attack on social media and circulated a manifesto espousing anti-immigrant and white supremacist ideologies.

His actions sparked widespread condemnation globally and raised concerns about the rise of extremist ideologies.

In August 2020, Tarrant was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, marking the first time in New Zealand’s history that such a sentence was handed down.

The judge emphasized the unprecedented nature of the crime and the need to ensure that Tarrant would not pose a threat to society again.

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