GAMBIER’S REASONLESS KILLER PAIR NOW BOTH SET FREE
I’m not sure what initially sparked my curiosity in true crime,
Sitting here thinking about it, as far as I can recall, the first true crime book I ever read was way back in the late 70s, I can’t even remember who it was about, The first book I remember was on Neddy Smith, And I think that was the book that turned me on to true crime.
Since then, true crime stories have been floating around in my head.
In 1986, I moved to Mount Gambier, in the southeast of South Australia.
I left Mount Gambier in 1990 to move back to Adelaide.
In those four years, somehow, I managed to be in close contact with at least one murdered person, one woman who vanished from the planet’s face and one murderer. There may have been more in each category, but these are the ones I know about.
I will skip quickly through the two cases that this story is not primarily about.
1. Rachel Martin. I knew Rachel Martin’s family quite well and used to go out to her parent’s property in Kongarong to party quite often. Unfortunately, Luke Simpson murdered Rachel in July 2021. I will add more to this story separately later.
2. Margaret Burnie. Once again, I knew Margaret reasonably well. She had been inside my house a few times. I even gave her a lift from Mount Gambier to Naracoorte 5 days before she disappeared. On 25 January 1988. Margaret had an argument with her mother, walked out of her mother’s house, and vanished. Once again, I will post the whole story of this later.
Today’s story involves a lady I have never met, Veronica Jane Hay and a man I certainly have met. On numerous occasions, Michael Peter Webb
I know nothing about Hall’s story before the main event except that she is an indigenous woman and has a long charge sheet. She also has a daughter, Tamara Jane. Other than that, anything else I say about this woman would be pure speculation.
The other person in this story is Michael Peter Webb.
I first met Webb in 1987. I was sharing the house with my then-girlfriend and another guy from the same area of southern Adelaide where I grew up. The place was great.
We had no neighbours. The closest other live in the house was 500 meters away, and the elderly couple who lived there were both deaf as doorposts. All other neighbours were shopping centres, warehouses, Pizza hut etc., and So, In this house, we would have regular Friday night drinks and card nights, loud music playing on the record player, or live bands in the shed, up to 20 people in the lounge, all playing cards. Drinking and smoking some weed.
One weeknight, the phone rang, and I answered it. It was a bloke asking for my girlfriend, so I called out for her, and she talked on the landline phone for about 10 minutes and then hung up.
We are going to Kingston. She told me, When I asked her what was going on, she told me two of her friends from Adelaide were on a motorbike, headed our way for a couple of weeks, but one bloke needed to be picked up and driven the rest of the way to the mount. They would meet us in Kingston, 160km away. Off we headed, arriving in Kingston one and a half hours later.
We agreed to meet these guys at the Big Lobster. Now, On the way, my girlfriend explained a bit about the two blokes, One named Aaron, who recently had gone through a quick marriage and divorce. The whole relationship lasted less than six months. The other guy, Webb, was Samoan.
When we arrived at Kingstons Big Lobster, the two guys waited for us. After a 10 minute chat, Webb jumped in our car with Aaron out front on his bike. We returned to Mount Gambier,
Over a few days, it became evident that Webb turned into a complete idiot after just one or two drinks or even a puff on a joint.
After a week, Aaron returned to Adelaide on his bike, leaving Webb behind in Mount Gambier. We had all sorts of trouble with Webb over the next few days, so eventually, we had to kick him out of our house.
I believe he moved into a hostel for alcoholics and druggies. About two weeks later, there was a party happening at our home, We had a couple of 44-gallon drums in the backyard with fires going in them, a band playing in the shed, and about 30 to 50 people drinking and smoking. Webb ended up inviting himself and was causing what I can only call embarrassing trouble from the first 5 minutes he was there.
Things like throwing a large log into one of the fires, showering everybody in sparks and embers. Smashing about a dozen glasses in the kitchen, just stupid annoying crap that no one else seemed to be doing, but there was Webb, right in the middle of everything that was going wrong.
My housemate eventually had enough and told Webb to leave. Webb ended up kicking up a stink about being told to leave, claiming someone owed him a couple of cones of weed.
My housemate gave him some weed and a pipe and told him to leave.
Webb left, and the party seemed to improve immediately.
We didn’t hear any more from Webb for a couple of days. Then suddenly, he walked in our back door claiming we owed him because the police busted with the pot and pipe.
We bluntly told him to F$#@ off, and he left again. Next time we hear from him, he’s in Jail.
According to his story, he got cold while out walking at night. He broke into the local Saint Vinnies store, looking for a blanket. He got a couple of weeks in the slammer for that offence and bailed out.
Not three nights later, He breaks into another friends house, climbing in through the bedroom window in the middle of the night and falling on my mate and his wife, Somehow Webb ended up with a few bruises on his face. I have no idea how he got those bruises.
When the police arrived, Webb kept saying to my mate, You know me, you know me through Blah Blah. My mate denied knowing him and the cops dragged him away. This time he was in for a good 12 months non Parole. After he served his time for his break and entry, I would see him now and then around town.
If I saw him walking towards me, I would cross the street to avoid him. Then I moved back to Adelaide. I had been in Adelaide about six months when I heard in the news about a murder in Mount Gambier. I said half-jokingly to myself, I bet Webb was involved in this murder. After a few days, I got a call from a friend who informed me that Webb was involved in this murder.
It seems Webb was at the Federal Hotel, In commercial Street, having a few beers with a woman named Veronica Hay. The pair had been in the Hotel for just over an hour and struck up a sort of friendship with a Victorian truck driver and former jockey named Lance Edward Patrick.
The three played some pool and had a few drinks.
On Tuesday night, the pub was almost empty, so management closed the pub at 1030. Lance bought a cask of cheap Moselle. The three left the pub straight across the road to a bus shelter and with the benefit of Lance’s cask managed to continue drinking and yahoo-ing,
Sometime around midnight, for some reason no one can explain, Webb and Hall turned on Lance. They were beating him to the ground.
Once on the ground, the pair kicked and stomped on Lance. Later, Forensics discovered both Webb and Hall’s shoe prints on Lance’s body.
His body also had whip and puncture marks from being beaten with his belt. The cause of death was a fracture of the cricoid cartilage in the throat. According to the footprints left on his throat, matched the pattern of the sole of Webb’s shoes.
The pair also forced a large 10cm piece of pine bark into Lance’s mouth.
At midnight, a nearby resident heard a loud, intense scream by a male voice, followed by two or three other screams. 12:05, Webb was seen walking across the Woolworths car park wearing Lance’s boots by a person walking past. Hay was in a telephone booth on the other side of the main street.
The eyewitness did not see lance’s body in the Woolworth car park. Webb and Hay walked away with all the money from Lance’s wallet, boots, jacket, a Triumph belt and a motel room key they found in Lance’s jacket.
On walking away, Webb removed the Triumph belt buckle from the belt and disposed of the belt in a used car yard, along with Lance’s jacket.
The pair then went to the motel room that the key belonged to and spent the rest of the night.
On waking, the pair returned to their hostel. Webb gave the belt buckle to another resident of the hostel. Later that day, he burned Lance’s boots and his blood-splattered jacket.
The Mount Gambier Major Crime Squad arrested Hay and Webb that evening, and during police interviews.
Webb gave several different accounts of what had happened, and Hay kept her mouth shut and said nothing.
During the court case, both pleaded not guilty. Each blamed the other for the crime. Hall would not shut up when being questioned, constantly blaming Webb. On the stand, Webb would not answer any questions but, via his lawyer, accused Hay. Eventually, both changed their pleas to Guilty.
The Jury found Veronica Jane Hay and Michael Peter Webb guilty of murder and sentenced them to life in Jail.
Both be eligible for release in a20 years. But this did not happen for both of them,
Because Hay had political influence via the Aboriginal commission. She was released after 13.5 years, but Webb was not released until his entire 20 years was up.
There was a huge political stoush over this case, with two state premiers bragging how they managed to keep a murderer behind bars (Webb). But neither of them bothered to mention that Hall had been out for six and a half years.
I have never been back to Mount Gambier. There is no reason for this. It just never happened. I’m sure it will happen one day.
So, now this story is over, I will have to start thinking about the other two Mount Gambier stories I was personally involved with.