The father of conspiracy obsessed brothers who callously shot dead two young police officers and a neighbour in rural Queensland has revealed bizarre details about their relationship with the same woman.
Australia is mourning the deaths of Constables Matthew Arnold, 26, and Rachel McCrow, 29, along with Alan Dare, 58, who were gunned down as they approached the property in Wieambilla on the Western Downs on Monday.
After a six hour siege, special operations police shot dead the three offenders – brothers Nathaniel and Gareth Train and Gareth’s wife Stacey – with their father Ron Train revealing she had married one brother before ending up with the other.
‘I married Nathaniel and Stacey here in Toowoomba Baptist Church In Toowoomba,’ he told A Current Affair in an interview airing Wednesday night.
‘Gareth was my second son and he was very overpowering, as I’ve shared with you on the Asperger’s scale, very difficult to control from a young age and in the end, that relationship that Nathaniel and Stacey had, he just took over.’
Former school principal Nathaniel Train married Stacey in Toowoomba (pictured) 23 years ago
Gareth Train (pictured) later took over their relationship and ended up with Stacey
Gareth had been ‘obsessed’ with guns since he was little, Mr Train said, and the two brothers had broken off all contact with the himself and his late wife more than twenty years ago.
The retired baptist pastor added he had ‘no idea’ that Stacey had gone on to marry Gareth and they had shacked up in the bush near Chinchilla in a small wooden house.
‘Apparently there was ammunition at the property, a whole stack of weapons… supposedly there was some type of ambush in camouflage and all this type of stuff. That seems to me…. well whether they knew the police were coming in or what. I don’t know.’
In the two decades since he stopped speaking to his parents Nathaniel became a school principal at Wagga Wagga in NSW then Yorkey’s Knob in north Queensland but increasingly went ‘off-the-grid’ – so much so he was considered a missing person in the year before the bloody siege.
Before he joined his brother at the Wieambilla property they had surfaced on fringe news websites and forums spouting conspiracy theories and vitriol at police.
Mr Train said he ‘absolutely can’t accept responsibility’ for the actions of his two boys.
Ron Train (pictured) said he hadn’t seen or spoken either of his sons for more than 20 years
‘I just can’t understand how this could have occurred. My late wife and I raised them with certain Christian beliefs, but they went down this track.’
He added: ‘Gareth, he was very volatile, we had troubles with him at school’.
‘He was obsessed with guns, Nathaniel to a lesser degree, they both would go out shooting for hares and things… he was licensed (to have guns).’
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll on Wednesday said the ‘absolutely devastating’ attack was extremely emotional and challenging for Queenslanders.
‘I know we are all thinking of the victims’ families who are grieving at this difficult time,’ she told reporters.
‘With honour, they served.’
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll (pictured) speaks to media during a press conference at Chinchilla Police station on Wednesday
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said flags will fly at half-mast on government buildings across the state, while Brisbane’s Story and Victoria bridges will be lit blue and white in mourning.
‘Hopefully it will give the QPS family some comfort that the people of this state absolutely respect and appreciate every single thing that they do,’ she said.
‘I doubt that this will bring much comfort to the families and loved ones of those who were killed.
‘They were so young, so young, they were incredibly bright, these were absolutely callous, brutal acts.’
The attack during a routine welfare check on a missing person was ‘beyond imagination’, she said, and the sort of thing Australians usually heard about happening overseas.
‘Our hearts just go out to the young constables who lost their lives in such a tragic … it’s just … words cannot describe,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘When I was hearing about this and speaking to people involved, I just couldn’t believe this was happening in our community.’
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said it was a rough day for all police and their families, and he praised their ‘public service at the highest level.’
‘This is not a price that anyone who puts on the uniform should ever pay,’ he said.
Flowers left outside Tara Police Station (pictured) where two of the four officers involved in the ambush had been posted
Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, also a former police officer, said the attack would ‘send a shiver down the spine of any police officer’.
‘Of course, the police family is absolutely devastated,’ Mr Dutton said.
‘People will be scarred from the experience. It’s time for our community, for our country to come together around police and support them.’
On the other side of the country, West Australian Police Commissioner Col Blanch said flags would be flown at half-mast in memory of the two constables, while the WA police union has donated $10,000 to a remembrance fund for the pair and organised for a number of Perth venues to be lit blue and white.
Australia is mourning the brave young officers Matthew Arnold, 26, and Rachel McCrow, 29, (pictured) who lost their lives protecting the community
‘I know WA Police officers have also felt the impact of the deaths, and many have reached out to their colleagues in Queensland to offer support,’ Mr Blanch said.
‘All officers across Australia and New Zealand will be feeling a sense of loss today.’
Police Association of Tasmania president Colin Riley said the killings had the hallmarks of a ‘targeted execution of police’ and were very personal for his members.
‘It triggers reflection by our members of the very real risks that we face every day doing our jobs, their own near misses that they have attended over the years and the possible consequences on their families,’ he said.
Australian Federal Police Association president Alex Caruana said the two Queensland officers would leave ‘a big hole’ in the Western Downs community, and Australians should rally behind those affected.
‘It won’t just be the police family or the blue family, that’ll be feeling it, it’ll be the whole community, and they’re going to need support, they’re going to need support through this,’ he told ABC Radio Canberra.