Widow’s warning: ‘He’ll kill again’
The widow of a police officer who was gunned down by a man who had killed twice before is convinced "he'll kill again".
Anne Haydon's husband Sergeant Keith Haydon, 37, was killed in a forest in Lake Macquarie by Berwyn Rees in November 1980. Rees was on the run at the time after killing two men, gunshop owner Ray James and his customer Christopher Greenfield, in Sydney three years earlier.
Both men were shot in the back of the head at point blank range.
The nightmare of that day in 1980 when she lost her husband has come flooding back for Mrs Haydon because Rees is trying to get parole - and the New South Wales State Parole Authority has revealed it has formed an intention to grant parole for Rees, A Current Affair reported.
She remembers the moment she learned her husband had died an awful death.
"I knew as soon as they walked in, and I just said, 'How bad?'"
The reply simply confirmed her suspicions.
"And he just said it was the worst."
Sergeant Haydon had been shot in the back of the head, but he also had been shot twice more - at close range. He was investigating reports of shots in the bush that forestry workers had heard; media reports at the time suggest they were practice shots Rees was firing off from his hideaway.
Mrs Haydon is convinced the killing would continue if Rees is let out of jail.
"If he gets out, if he gets in a corner, he'll kill again."
After the execution of Sergeant Haydon, Rees came face-to-face with another police officer when Constable Alexander Pietruszka pulled him over during a traffic stop.
Mr Pietruszka told A Current Affair how close he came to death, with the bullets passing him by only millimetres and fired "without warning".
"The first bullet went through my hair...The second bullet flicked my ear and because I was turning sideways the third bullet hit me there, luckily hit the rib and bounced out rather than in," the now retired officer said.
He was able to fire two shots back - and as he did so he noticed something terrifying about the killer.
"This bloke was nothing," he said.
"I can't explain to somebody how cold he was, how expressionless, just - just evil."
Mr Pietruszka agreed with Mrs Haydon - Rees was not to be trusted and was still dangerous.
"I believe that somewhere deep inside him, there is still evil lurking."
The daughter of gun shop owner Ray James told 2GB's Ray Hadley program it was
"unfathomable" that he could be allowed to walk free.
"What he has done is just incredibly bad on so many families and to let him walk the streets is just craziness," Tracy James said.
Rees was once called "one of the most cold-blooded killers ever to enter a New South Wales prison" - and yet he could be days away from release.
The final decision about whether to release Rees or keep him behind bars will be made by the five-member panel of the State Parole Authority, with a public hearing to take place on Friday.