Someone knows who stabbed pregnant 21-year-old mother Angela Blackmoore at her Christchurch home in 1995. A Stuff investigation has unearthed new details about the infamous cold case and sparked a record $100,000 reward for information.
Laurie Anderson at Angela Blackmoore’s grave.
Laurie Anderson at Angela Blackmoore's grave.
Pizza delivery driver Kerry Little swung her bright pink Honda into the driveway at 48 Vancouver Cres, Christchurch, shortly before 9pm on August 17, 1995.
The then 22-year-old, who worked for Stallones Pizza in New Brighton, walked to the front door of the red brick Wainoni house carrying a small pizza.
A young woman wearing a loose fitting white top opened the door clutching a cheque book before Little had a chance to knock. The woman had filled out a cheque but left the payee space blank as she didn’t know how to spell Stallones.
Little showed the woman the spelling on the pizza box and told her she owed $13.50.
The woman shut the door and locked it. She returned soon after, handed over the cheque and took the pizza.
Little pulled out of the driveway thinking the woman was a little odd - she’d never encountered such a cagey customer or someone who didn’t know how to spell the company’s name - but didn’t give it much thought until the next morning when a police officer called and asked her to come down to the station.
Little didn’t know it yet, but police were investigating a murder and they believed she was the last person, other than the killer or killers, to see the victim alive.
A grim discovery
Laurie Anderson and Angela Blackmoore had recently learned she was pregnant.
Their whirlwind relationship began in January, 1995, when Angela was looking for a new direction in a previously troubled life.
Her upbringing had been turbulent and she was not long out of a failed and volatile marriage. She was also fighting for custody of her 2-year-old son, Dillon.
The relationship with Anderson, who was employed as a librarian’s assistant and technician at the University of Canterbury and nearly 10 years her senior, was a move towards a more stable life.
On August 17, 1995, Anderson received a call mid-afternoon saying he was needed at work from 8pm to 11pm, as a colleague had called in sick.
The unexpected shift meant Anderson would have to leave 21-year-old Angela at their Vancouver Cres home on her own for the first time since she moved in several months earlier.
Angela was anxious and asked to be dropped at his mother’s house, but he didn’t think that was necessary and told her not to worry.
She spoke to Anderson’s mother, Mary, shortly before 8pm and told her she planned to stay up and watch a television programme called Blue Heelers, an Australian police drama.
Angela called her mother, Pauline Keen, about 8.15pm needing help with a cheque for a pizza.
Mary was expecting a call from Angela about 9.35pm, but it never came and when she called her about 10 minutes later, there was no answer.
Anderson left work at 11pm and arrived home about 20 minutes later. The front door was locked, as expected.
He found the TV on in the lounge and grabbed a piece of pizza. He continued up the hall into the kitchen and found Angela, who was wearing a white top and black pants, face down on the floor in a pool of drying blood. She had a gash on the back of her head and blood was smeared on a nearby door.
Anderson tried to check if she was breathing. Her skin felt cold.
In shock, he phoned 111 before checking on Dillon, who was in bed fast asleep.
A planned murder
Angela was the victim of a frenzied attack. She had 39 knife wounds to her head, chest, abdomen and limbs.
Her death was the first of three homicides on consecutive days in Christchurch. Edward Kelly, 19, was stabbed to death on Friday and Bernard Noel Dell, 48, was killed in an axe attack on Saturday. The city hadn’t experienced a similar spate of murders in many years and police resources were stretched.
Detective Inspector Kevin Burrowes headed a large team investigating Angela’s death.
Police spent several days forensically examining the Vancouver Cres murder scene as they tried to establish who was responsible.
The killer or killers had not forced their way into the Vancouver Cres house and police believed she likely knew them.
Signs of a struggle, including defensive wounds on her hands, were evident and police believed whoever was responsible would have blood on their clothes.
She had not been sexually assaulted.
Residents reported seeing a small red car parked outside 48 Vancouver Cres about the time of the murder. By the time police arrived at the scene it was gone.
A neighbour told investigators she heard what she thought was a possible assault, followed by a car leaving quickly, between 9.30pm and 9.45pm.
Little forensic evidence existed at the property. A bloody size 10 bootprint, that police believed belonged to the killer, was found on the bare floorboards in the kitchen-dining area.
Police believe a bloody size 10 bootprint they found on the bare floorboards in the kitchen-dining area of Angela Blackmoore’s home belonged to her killer. (PHOTO: NZ POLICE)
In an amazing coincidence, a man fell from the Quality Inn Hotel on Colombo St about a fortnight later. He was found wearing a lone shoe with a similar sole pattern. His other shoe was picked up by street cleaners and taken to Burwood landfill. It was found during a search of the dump, but inquiries, including forensic testing, revealed it was not the one worn by the killer.
Investigators also found a set of fingerprints in the house that they were unable to match.
The murder weapon, described as a “single-edged, heavy-bladed cutting instrument” was not found. Police believed the killer brought it to the property, indicating the attack was planned.
With little evidence at the scene pointing to the identity of those responsible, police set about interviewing Angela’s family, friends and associates.
A troubled upbringing
Angela grew up in Christchurch living with her parents Pauline and Ray. It was a dysfunctional family and she was removed from their care when she was about 12. She spent her teenage years living in various foster homes, but would run away and sleep on the street. She turned to drugs and prostitution and associated with members of the city’s underworld.
In her late teens, Angela met William Blackmoore when he was working as a bouncer at the Crazy Horse, a stripclub owned by the infamous crime figure Terry Brown.
Blackmoore, who grew up in Fairfield, Hamilton, was regarded as a loner. He had a keen interest in motorcycles and knew people associated with a bikie gang called the Templars MC, formerly known as the Templeton Motorcycle Club.
Members of the Templars MC, and other motorcyclists, attend the funeral of a friend in September 1992.
The pair began a relationship and Angela soon fell pregnant with Dillon. They married in March, 1993.
Their relationship was volatile. Blackmoore later told media it was “not a happy marriage … there were a lot of fights and verbal abuse on both sides”, but he denied ever hitting her.
The marriage lasted only 18 months - ending in August, 1994.
At the time of the murder, the couple were fighting over custody of Dillon. They were also working through a marriage settlement, which included a property they owned in Cashel St.
Detectives were quick to question both Blackmoore and Anderson about their movements on the night of the murder.
Blackmoore told police he was at home on the other side of town with his new partner. Anderson’s work alibi also checked out.
Police couldn’t rule out a contract killing.
It’s unclear why, but the focus of the homicide inquiry soon shifted to a group of men connected to the now defunct Templars MC.
Police investigating the death of Angela Blackmoore searched the Riccarton headquarters of the Templars MC. (PHOTO: NZ POLICE)
Police raided the homes of the gang’s president, Robert ‘Red’ Williams, its sergeant at arms, Ross ‘Oscar’ Heselwood, and an associate - debt collector and enforcer - David Hawken. They also searched the club’s headquarters on Rotherham St, Riccarton.
Williams, who died in 2013 aged 58, and Heselwood, denied any involvement and told police they were at a club meeting at the Rotherham St pad at the time of the murder.
Hawken, an old school friend of Blackmoore, told police he was at home with his partner. He was living in the Cashel St property owned by Blackmoore and Angela at the time.
Police say Blackmoore, Anderson, Heselwood, Williams and Hawken remain persons of interest to their inquiry.
‘I didn’t do it’
In 2002, Heselwood acknowledged he was the prime suspect in Angela’s killing when he was called as a witness in a court case where his flatmate Timothy Taylor was on trial accused of murdering 20-year-old Lisa Blakie.
Blakie’s body was found dumped in the Porter River, in Porters Pass, in February, 2000. She had fled Timaru after allegedly being threatened by her ex-boyfriend who was a member of the Devil’s Henchmen.
Heselwood, who was briefly a member of the Christchurch chapter of the Henchmen after the Templars folded, was a suspect in Blakie’s murder. He was questioned extensively and cautioned by investigators, but denied involvement. He was never charged.
Taylor was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years. He maintains his innocence.
Heselwood has recently spent time living on the West Coast working for a helicopter company and has convictions for violence, possession of weapons, including guns and knives, and supplying drugs. He has not spoken publicly about Angela’s murder, until now.
The 55-year-old says he never laid eyes upon Angela and it is “insulting” to think people believe he might have killed her.
“It’s just horrible to have people looking at me in that way. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate seeing women get hurt.”
Heselwood says he doesn’t know who killed Angela, but they had to be “pretty sick” to stab her 39 times.
That would indicate anger, wouldn’t it. I can’t even stab a wild pig that many times.
Heselwood says he lived with William Blackmoore about the time of the murder, but that was just “bad timing”. He met Blackmoore through Hawken, who he worked for as a debt collector.
“It’d be nice to have some answers one day hopefully before I die so that way I can rest in peace knowing full well that bullshit isn’t going to be hanging over my children’s heads.”
A marked man
Hawken, who now lives in Wanaka, says Angela’s murder “absolutely destroyed our life”.
The 45-year-old’s surprised to learn he remains a person of interest to the inquiry.
Hawken says he was at home with his heavily pregnant partner on the night of the murder when he received a call from her mother, who didn’t agree with his lifestyle and “hated my guts”. That phone call gave him a cast iron alibi, he says.
I didn’t kill her. That’s been proved.
“We got hauled over the coals ... and that’s a fact. I’ve got nothing to hide. My conscience is clear.
“If I ever found out who did it ... God help them.”
Hawken acknowledges he was a “bad bastard” and “horrible person” at the time of the murder which police “used against me big time” to run him out of town. “And it worked - they got me.”
“The murder turned over the underworld in Christchurch. It almost got me killed. I had every organised crime boss giving me shit. Everywhere the cops went they said ‘this is because of him [David Hawken] that you’re getting tipped up’.”
He recalls being summoned to a meeting with Heselwood, Williams and other members of the Templars after the gang’s clubhouse was raided by investigators.
“I almost got the s... kicked out of me because of them getting tipped up. They were f...ing angry … I’d brought them into it because of my association with them.”
About the time of the murder, Hawken, who owned Debt Collectors International, says he was involved in brokering a settlement between Angela and Blackmoore, potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars, in relation to the Cashel St property the pair owned.
He says Angela was entitled to as much as $20,000 from the house, but she refused to take that amount as she’d only invested a fraction of that figure.
Hawken says he was living in the property at the time of the murder because he’d loaned Angela and Blackmoore up to $10,000 to help pay the mortgage and when he fell on hard times he needed a place to stay.
He says he hasn’t spoken to Blackmoore, his old school mate, in years.
We ended up going our separate ways because of the heat [from the police].
“I do know he [Blackmoore] went through a life of hell afterwards. It destroyed him and his boy’s life. The worst thing that could have happened was Angela getting killed.”
Hawken says any suggestion Blackmoore was involved in the murder is misguided.
“Willie couldn’t hurt anybody and he couldn’t hire anybody to do anything like that. As soon as he sees blood he faints. There was no good reason for him to do that at the time because everything with Angela was good.”
He says Blackmoore was very angry after the murder.
“He and Angela had just started getting things sorted. His boy meant the world to him and to Angela.”
Hawken says Angela had issues with drugs while she was with Blackmoore, which was why they split.
Her drug use might have been the reason she was killed, he says.
“Christchurch in the 1990s you paid your drug debts or you paid for them.”
The murder was “f...ing messy” and bore the hallmarks of an attack by a skinhead or a junkie.
“Guns are a lot cleaner and easier.”
Living in hope
Laurie Anderson, now 54, still works at the university and lives in the house where his partner Angela was killed.
He’s renovating the Vancouver Cres property. Interior walls have been removed, the ceiling is raised and the exterior cladding is now a sandy colour rather than red brick.
Despite the changes, Anderson’s able to point out exactly where he found Angela’s body and recall the scene in intimate detail. He’s told the story so many times his answers sound rehearsed and lack emotion.
“You could see the gash made in the top of her head and there was a lot of blood around her,” he says, standing in the kitchen.
He remembers picking up the phone and calling an ambulance in the hope that Angela could be revived.
Deep down he knew she was dead.
“I was shocked. It should have just been a normal day. She was waiting for me to get home.”
Anderson and Angela first met when he contracted her husband William Blackmoore to drive a taxi he owned.
The pair lost contact before their paths crossed again a year later, after she and Blackmoore had split.
Angela was short on money and living with her mother. Dillon was in foster care. Angela and Blackmoore were fighting for custody.
It wasn’t long before Anderson and Angela began a relationship and she moved into the Vancouver Cres property, which the couple shared with boarder Brian Gardyne.
Anderson says Angela was upfront about her past. She told him about her drug use, which included sniffing glue and smoking cannabis, and prostitution.
She worked hard to turn her life around and show she was fit to look after Dillon.
Anderson says Angela was poorly educated and illiterate. She wanted to learn to read and get her driver licence.
“It was a rollercoaster ride. We were doing a lot in a very short space of time. We were dealing with the Dillon issues and we were trying to build a relationship together.”
About a week before her death, the couple learned they were expecting a child. They were both excited and bought some baby gear. “She was happy,” Anderson says.
But ghosts from her past dogged her.
Anderson says Angela was “extremely security conscious” and was “scared of a lot of people”. She could also be a little naive about who she trusted and was often taken advantage of.
The night Angela was killed was the fifth Thursday Anderson had worked late in eight weeks. Gardyne was working in Otira.
“What I know now I wouldn’t have left her at home alone. I didn’t realise the people … around were dangerous.
My biggest regret is that I wasn’t there that night to greet them. I should have been home. There would have been body bags and they definitely wouldn’t have been Angela’s.
Anderson says he has fond memories of his time with Angela.
“She was just so spontaneous. She had a sparkle in her eye. She was so bubbly. When people put her down she would bounce back so quickly. Those are the things I miss.”
Anderson is still in close contact with Dillon, who is now 25 and goes by a different name. He bears a striking resemblance to his mother Angela.
Dillon says he remembers nothing about the night of the murder.
He often wonders what it would be like if his mother was alive, and sometimes dreams about her.
“I’ve grown up lonely in a way,” he says
The pair hope Angela’s killer will be caught, but they’re not confident.
“Unless someone goes nuts and they get a conscience . . . it won’t come out. There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence, but nothing tangible to pin it on a particular person,” Anderson says.
On the night Angela was killed, Gardyne, who boarded in the Vancouver Cres house, was working on a tow truck in Otira and attended a callout that made it impossible for him to have committed the murder, police say.
Gardyne says Angela and Anderson never argued or fought. “They got on together like a box of birds. She meant the world to him,” he says.
Gardyne recalls playing a game with Angela where she would barricade herself in his bedroom at the rear of the Vancouver Cres house, near where her body was found.
On the night of the murder, he believes she tried to escape to his bedroom, but never made it.
Gardyne’s close family friend Sharyn Ritchie, nee Pearce, was working for David Hawken’s debt collecting business as a secretary at the time of the murder.
Police say Ritchie was interviewed “extensively” as part of the investigation, but “nothing she said incriminated anyone”.
Angela’s parents Ray and Pauline died several years ago. Before her death in 2010, Pauline often used anniversaries of her daughter’s death to appeal through the media for help catching those responsible.
Stuff tried unsuccessfully to contact Angela’s former husband William Blackmoore, who moved to Australia about a decade ago and lives in Queensland.
The 51-year-old’s family have barely heard from him in recent years. They declined to comment.
‘I can’t unsee what I saw’
The impact of Angela’s death stretches well beyond her family.
Long-time Vancouver Cres resident Donald Smythe, 70, lives across the road from the crime scene and has often wondered who was responsible.
On the night of the murder he went outside for a cigarette and saw a small, worn, red car, possibly a two-door, parked outside Angela’s home.
He hadn’t seen the vehicle before, but didn’t think much of it until he woke the next morning and discovered something serious had happened over the road. The red car was gone.
As police searched properties in the area looking for the murder weapon, he told an investigator what he’d seen.
“I believe that was the vehicle used by the person who did the murder,” he says.
The crime rocked Vancouver Cres, which at the time was a quiet suburban street home to hard working folk who largely kept to themselves.
“People were uneasy for quite some time afterwards,” Smythe says.
A young volunteer ambulance officer, who does not want to be named, says she quit after witnessing the gruesome murder scene.
“I can’t unsee what I saw that night,” she says. “There was blood everywhere.”
The woman and her colleague, a paramedic, were first on the scene after Laurie Anderson called 111 and reported his girlfriend was injured.
They had no idea they were attending a homicide.
“I was horrified. How someone can do that to someone else I have no idea," the woman says.
“I slept with the light on for about eight weeks after that. It scares me that someone is still out there that’s done that.”
Kerry Little, nee Whiteman, says she was shocked to learn that a woman was killed at the Vancouver Cres property soon after she delivered the pizza.
I must have been the last person who saw her. I could have walked into something horrible.
At the New Brighton police station the next morning police showed her some photos of a woman they hoped she would recognise.
“They ... said ‘is this the lady that came to the door?’ and I said ‘no, I don’t think so’. They made a point that it must have been her because she wasn’t a very good speller.”
Little, who now lives in Northland, says she still doesn’t think the woman who answered the door was Blackmoore and feels police didn’t take her seriously enough at the time.
“That’s kind of haunted me. If it wasn’t her, who was it and what involvement did they have?”
According to Little’s police statement, she described the woman who opened the door as European, aged in her late 20s or early 30s, with brown hair to the collar and of medium build. She was wearing a large oversized white t-shirt.
Police say they’ve spoken several times with Little to “clarify the issue” and remain confident the woman she encountered that night was Angela.
Little says that she takes a keen interest in any updates about the case.
“I wish I could have done more - if only I’d seen something.”
It’s never too late
No detective wants to retire with an unsolved homicide on their record.
Those involved in the initial investigation into Angela’s murder - dubbed Operation Vancouver - remain frustrated they never got a resolution for her family, but believe the killer was among the people they interviewed.
Retired detective Lance Corcoran, 74, remembers the inquiry as the most complex he worked on in a career spanning 36 years “because it involved so many people and so many possibilities”.
It was a tough case to crack “probably because it involved so much of the underworld”.
There were a lot of undesirable people who came up in that investigation. A lot of those people are not particularly honest when they need to be.
Corcoran won’t talk about specifics of the inquiry because he doesn’t want to jeopardise any ongoing work police might be doing.
However, he says it would “mean everything to me” if those responsible were caught.
The idea that a murder could be solved nearly 24 years after it was committed is not implausible.
In 2017, two South Auckland men were arrested for the murder of Chris Bush, who was gunned down in the Red Fox Tavern in 1987.
A $100,000 reward
Detective Sergeant Todd Hamilton was appointed the file manager for Operation Vancouver in 1995. He now oversees the investigation, which has traversed hundreds of witnesses. Their statements and other documents fill more than 45 folders.
Hamilton says the investigation file hasn’t been reviewed for several years, but he remains confident those responsible for Angela’s murder will be caught.
At times in the past five years he’s thought a resolution was at hand only to find the lead he was pursuing did not pan out.
Significant advances in DNA testing techniques since 1995 mean exhibits taken from the murder scene continue to be examined.
Information also continues to trickle in from members of the public.
Hamilton is not prepared to discuss possible motives.
He’s unable to say with any certainty how many people entered Angela’s home, but it’s no more than “a couple”.
The red car seen by Smythe in Vancouver Cres about the time of the murder was a “significant focus” of the investigation, but has never been identified. Nor has the owner of the bloody bootprint or the stray fingerprint found inside the house. The murder weapon has never been found.
Hamilton says former members of the Templars MC might hold the key to solving the case.
Allegiances change. Someday somebody will say something. We’d be interested to hear from anybody that’s got … more information than they gave us at the time.”
He hopes a record $100,000 reward police are offering for information that leads to the conviction of the killer or killers will prompt “the right person to come forward with the right information”.
“I hate the thought of the person or people responsible for this crime going around thinking they have avoided being caught. This was a horrible, brutal attack on a young woman getting her life together. I’m sure whoever did this thinks about it constantly. They should know we will never stop investigating this until we solve it.”
Anyone with information about Angela’s murder can contact police on 0800 221995 (0800AB1995).
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