‘Breakdown’ in processes may have allowed police gun to be used in alleged murders, former senior detective says


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If police claims are correct, a gun appears to have been ‘largely unaccounted for’ the weekend before alleged murders of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies, Vincent Hurley says

A former senior detective has raised concerns about an apparent “breakdown” in processes that may have allowed a force-issued firearm to be used in the alleged murder of two young men in Sydney.

Vincent Hurley, whose New South Wales police career spanned almost three decades, said he was troubled by police claims, made in the course of the ongoing homicide investigation, that suggested a Glock had been “largely unaccounted for” before being used to allegedly kill Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.

Police allege Sen Const Beau Lamarre checked out a Glock pistol from Miranda police station on Friday 16 February so he could take it to a shift policing a “user pays” event on Sunday 18 February. Police have said it was an “operation shelter” rally regarding the Gaza conflict.

It is not known whether Lamarre showed up to work at the event, with police only saying his movements would be looked at as part of their ongoing homicide investigation. Lamarre has been charged with murdering Baird, 26, and Davies, 29 on Monday 19 February.

Lamarre allegedly took a force-issued handgun from storage at the Miranda police station in south Sydney. 

Lamarre signed the gun to work at a “protest activity” happening on Sunday 18 February, police say. It is unclear whether he actually worked at the event. 

It was a “user pays” event, where police officers work outside their normal hours.

Organisers pay for policing services at user pays events such as music festivals. However, in this case it was a rally, meaning the police paid out of their own budget because the NSW government doesn't charge people to protest.

9.50am – Neighbours hear gunshots at Baird’s home in Paddington, police say. The shots were not reported to police until days later.

9.54am – An emergency call is made to triple zero from Davies’ phone but is terminated before being connected to an operator. 

Later that evening – Lamarre allegedly hires a white Toyota HiAce van from Sydney airport.

Lamarre allegedly makes “partial admissions” about the killings “to an acquaintance of having been involved in the deaths of two individuals”, police say. 

Police allege at some point between Tuesday and Wednesday morning, Lamarre drove the hired van to Cronulla and discarded some personal items of former TV presenter and AFL umpire Baird, 26, and Qantas flight attendant Davies, 29.

11am – Bloodied clothing and personal items are found in a skip bin in Cronulla, which leads police to launch a missing person investigation. The homicide squad is notified.

1pm – Police discover a large amount of blood when examining Baird’s home in Paddington.

Later that afternoon – Investigators search Davies’ home in Waterloo. 

During the same day – Police allege Lamarre attends a Bungonia property near Goulburn with an acquaintance. The acquaintance is described by police as “an innocent agent”. 

 Lamarre and the acquaintance allegedly buy an angle grinder and a padlock from a hardware store in the area before driving to the gates of the property in the NSW southern tablelands. 

Lamarre allegedly cuts the padlock with the grinder and proceeds into the property in the hired van. The acquaintance says they wait at the entrance at the top of the property for about half an hour. 

After Lamarre places a new padlock on the property’s gate, the pair drive back to Sydney later that afternoon, police say.

Police say the acquaintance who visited the property with Lamarre is a “long-term friend of the accused” and “we don’t believe she was fully aware of what had taken place”. 

Detectives say they believe the Bungonia property was previously visited by Lamarre through a former relationship. 

11pm – Lamarre allegedly buys weights from a department store. 

Police allege Lamarre then returns to the rural property near Goulburn during that evening or overnight. Lamarre allegedly acquires two torches from the acquaintance before he returns.

4.30am – Lamarre allegedly leaves the Bungonia area again in the hired white van and drives back to Sydney. 

It is believed Lamarre drove to the city and remained in that area before he attended another acquaintance’s home in Newcastle. 

Lamarre didn’t disclose anything to this acquaintance but asked for access to a hose to clean the van, police allege. 

11.30pm – Detectives say a third person – later identified as Lamarre – “may be able to assist with investigation”. They raid a home in Balmain thought to be connected to Lamarre.

5am – Lamarre is believed to have stayed in the Newcastle area until early Friday morning. 

6.15am – Lamarre returns to Sydney. 

10.39am – Lamarre hands himself in at Bondi police station while wearing a black T-shirt and cap. A few hours later, police charge Lamarre with two counts of murder. 

4pm – Lamarre appears before Waverley local court. He does not apply for bail and the matter is adjourned to 23 April.

Morning – Police search waterways in the Newcastle suburb of Lambton. Detectives believe Lamarre visited the city north of Sydney before turning himself in at Bondi.

Police, including specialist divers, begin searching the rural Bungonia property near Goulburn looking for the bodies of the missing Sydney couple.

Divers scour the area and dams behind the home.

The NSW deputy commissioner Dave Hudson provides more details of the police case against Lamarre. 

These details include: 

The Glock pistol Lamarre allegedly used for Monday’s murder may have been stored at the Balmain police station after the alleged shootings before being returned to storage at Miranda police station.

There were “approvals within the organisation for firearms to be stored at home as well”. 

A break-in allegedly occurred at Baird’s house in August 2023 – at the time, Lamarre and Baird were still in some form of a relationship. 

Police allege Lamarre sent messages using Baird’s phone pretending to be him after the alleged murders – telling his housemates he was potentially moving to Western Australia and to deal with his property.

Investigators allege Lamarre’s crimes followed months of “predatory behaviour” that culminated in the fatal double shooting.

11am – Detectives interview Lamarre at Silverwater jail in western Sydney, where he is on remand. 

1pm – Human remains found at Bungonia. 

2pm – Investigators announce they have established a crime scene at a second property at Bungonia about 20 minutes from the first property. 

3.30pm – The police commissioner, Karen Webb, says at a press conference “we believe we have located two bodies”. She says: “The families have been notified. We are very confident we have located Luke and Jesse.” 

Webb says the discovery of the bodies was made with the assistance of the accused.

Under the NSW police “user pays” model, organisers of events such as music festivals or mass-participation sporting competitions pay for policing services.

NSW police call rallies or protests “user pays” events because officers are rostered to work at them in the same way as festivals and other events.

In reality, the force funds them from its own budget. The NSW government does not charge people to protest in the state.

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The NSW police deputy commissioner David Hudson earlier this week said it was “not unusual” for officers to check out firearms for “user pays” duties when deployed to locations beyond their normal attachment.

When they work a “user pays” shift, officers can store their firearm at an alternate police station or at home, if they have permission from a senior officer and meet “safe storage requirements”, a NSW police spokesperson said.

Hudson said Lamarre was approved to store the gun at “alternate locations including a premises with an approved gun safe”.

Hurley, a former detective who is now a criminology lecturer at Macquarie University, said he believed it would be unusual for an officer to be able to keep a Glock for the whole weekend.

“To my knowledge and my experience, it’s rare, because most police go and get their firearm on the morning of the user pays [shift],” Hurley said.

After the alleged murders, police claim Lamarre took the gun to Balmain police station and placed it in storage there. Lamarre returned the gun to Miranda police station on Tuesday 20 February, police have said.

If the claims were correct, Hurley said, “something’s gone terribly wrong. It has been largely unaccounted for. There’s clearly been a breakdown”.

Police have said they will argue in court that the alleged murder of Baird was premeditated by Lamarre who they claim then killed Davies because he happened to be at Baird’s house at the time.

Police also allege that a cartridge case was found in Baird’s Paddington sharehouse where the Network 10 presenter and his partner, Davies, a Qantas flight attendant, were allegedly shot.

More than six months before Baird and Davies were killed, the police watchdog urged the force to improve its record-keeping of service firearms in a report.

“One of the most significant risks we noted was deficiencies in record keeping in relation to the removal of firearms,” the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (Lecc) report stated.

The alleged use of a police handgun in the deaths of Baird and Davies will be the subject of an internal NSW police review with oversight from the Lecc as well as Victoria police.

The NSW police commissioner, Karen Webb, this week claimed that there had been a “failure” regarding the use of a police weapon.

Samantha Lee, a senior solicitor at Redfern Legal Centre, said the review should be conducted by the NSW auditor general.

“We can’t allow this critical public safety review to happen behind closed doors and by another police force,” Lee said.

A police spokesperson said the review was expected to take six weeks and would examine authorisation, home storage, storage at other police stations, record management and governance.