Title: BROKEN. An old black and white newspaper photograph taken at Kylie Smith's funeral. The community gather to morurn as Kyl'es coffin is carried to the grave by pallbearers.
Title: BROKEN. The background image becomes inverted
Title: BROKEN. Subtitle: Fracture and heartbreak in small town New Zealand.

Thirty years ago 15-year-old schoolgirl Kylie Ann Smith was raped and shot, before her body was carefully hidden in the bush. A Stuff investigation reveals for the first time how the killing left a rural community in tatters and drove a pastor into hiding.

The murder of Kylie Smith shattered the small Otago community of Owaka. Thirty years on, the ripples from the tragedy are still felt today.

For Angie Wood, the last time she went riding after school with her best friend Kylie Smith was also the last time she felt free to roam the wide country roads around their town. 

It was a fresh, overcast late spring day in 1991, typical of late October, and their sleepy little nook of Owaka, about 100 kilometres or so south of Dunedin, was quiet. As they rode down the main street they waved to locals they had known all their lives.

At 15, Kylie was developing into a promising young equestrian. She shone at The Catlins Area School where her mother Dawn taught, and was the apple of her father’s eye, plumber Bevan Smith.

Tall, blonde and with blue eyes, she was easily identifiable on her black mount Nick as she rode out of town most days wearing her signature black and yellow Balmoral pony club hat and oilskin raincoat.

With her wide smile and infectious personality, Kylie was popular among her schoolmates, a class captain and on the school council.

Academically gifted, she was also an accomplished netballer and swimmer, and had plans to become a veterinarian.

Angie looked up to her friend and felt like she was her kid sister.

“She used to say, ‘Come on Angie, come riding with mother’.”

Kylie competing on a white horse jumping over a hurdle.

Kylie Ann Smith, 15, was a top young equestrian with the world at her feet. SUPPLIED

Kylie Ann Smith, 15, was a top young equestrian with the world at her feet. SUPPLIED

Kylie wearing an equestrian hat and uniform, holding the reigns standing next one of her horses.

Kylie was accomplished academically as well as being a talented sportswoman. SUPPLIED

Kylie was accomplished academically as well as being a talented sportswoman. SUPPLIED

A bright and bubbly teenager, Kylie was loved and respected by her peers at The Catlins Area School. SUPPLIED

A bright and bubbly teenager, Kylie was loved and respected by her peers at The Catlins Area School. SUPPLIED

Police photo of Bailey's beaten up VW Beetle.

Paul Bailey would drive this distinctive blue Volkswagen Beetle around Owaka to scope for victims. SUPPLIED

Paul Bailey would drive this distinctive blue Volkswagen Beetle around Owaka to scope for victims. SUPPLIED

As the girls rode that day, a battered pale-blue Volkswagen Beetle drove past them and they glimpsed a young man who waved at them from behind the wheel. A few moments later they giggled as he did a U-turn and drove back past them slowly. Angie had seen the same car parked outside the school grounds the previous day, but didn’t think anything of it. 

Coming back into town they passed the car again, now parked outside the chemist not far from Kylie’s house, before carrying on home. 

Angie was to encounter the skinny, lank-haired young man again the following day outside the chemist, leaning on the car’s bonnet. He called out “Hi”, and then “Nice day” when she came out of the shop. She politely agreed.

The 13-year-old noticed him staring at her as she walked down the street, and she had an uneasy feeling he was checking her out.

Top: Bailey only arrived in the Owaka community two weeks before he murdered Kylie, turning up at a service at the local Baptist church. Above: Originally from England, Bailey had a dark past littered with previous crimes by the time he arrived in Owaka. SUPPLIED

Top: Bailey only arrived in the Owaka community two weeks before he murdered Kylie, turning up at a service at the local Baptist church. Above: Originally from England, Bailey had a dark past littered with previous crimes by the time he arrived in Owaka. SUPPLIED

Two days later she would be faced with the grim realisation that the man was Paul Bailey - a sexually violent deviant who on November 1 abducted, raped and murdered her best friend, and who might just have been fantasizing about doing the same thing to her.

It was to have a profound impact on the rest of her life as she struggled to cope in the aftermath.

Today, there is still an undercurrent of sadness in her voice.

“There was the ‘what ifs’ - what if I had been there that day? I was riding but I had to go around the block to drop some homework off to a friend, and I came out on the main road and it was just her horse. It would have only been minutes…”

With few support services available to her back then, Angie began to wish she had been the one taken.

“It should have been me because she really was beautiful. She was really blossoming and was going to her first prom.”

At Kylie’s funeral she was too numb to cry. All she remembers is the ringing in her ears.

Unable to concentrate at school, she dropped out in the fifth form and began working in shearing gangs. A promising equestrian herself, she no longer felt safe riding alone and lost interest in attending horse shows without her friend.

Top: Kylie (left) was popular among her peers. Above: A skilled athlete, Kylie (back row, middle) was a representative netballer. SUPPLIED

Top: Kylie (left) was popular among her peers. Above: A skilled athlete, Kylie (back row, middle) was a representative netballer. SUPPLIED

At home, everything changed. Where once she could have taken off to play torch tag, her parents now had rules. Drowning in shock and grief, she began to rebel. 

Thirty years on she is still dealing with the terrible events, and the idea of Bailey ever being released from prison makes her want to cry.

“I had a great upbringing and didn’t know there was evil like that.”

“I lost my innocence.”

KYLIE’S BEST FRIEND ANGIE WOOD

KYLIE’S BEST FRIEND ANGIE WOOD

Family photo of the Smith family looking happy sitting in an outdoor setting with bush in the background.

Kylie and her father Bevan, brother Rhiane and mother Dawn Smith were a close and loving family who had lived in Owaka all their lives. SUPPLIED

Kylie and her father Bevan, brother Rhiane and mother Dawn Smith were a close and loving family who had lived in Owaka all their lives. SUPPLIED

Two months before Kylie’s murder, a 23-year-old local woman was having a game of pool among punters enjoying an end-of-day beer at the Ettrick Tavern in Central Otago - at the same time as Bailey, an orchard worker with a drink problem.

The woman had seen the pale 27-year-old before, so when a drunk Bailey asked her for a lift home later that evening, she obliged.

Her charity proved a mistake.

Police files - never before released publicly but acquired by Stuff - reveal the depths of Paul Bailey’s depravity.

Bailey liked young schoolgirls - so much so that when he and his partner Rose Shortland lived in Motueka in the late 1980s he bought a school skirt, white shirt and black stockings for her to wear.

For an unknown reason the pair fled to Ettrick with their infant son, leaving behind her outfit, so Rose and Bailey’s mother, Doreen, bought a replacement.

Top photo: Rose holds baby Linda. Bottom photo: Rose sitting with Bailey, her hand on his leg.

Top: Bailey’s partner Rose Shortland with their baby daughter Linda - who would die of accidental causes from severe burns when her bassinet caught fire from a kitchen fire. Above: Rose Shortland ran off with Bailey when she was just 14 and he was 21. SUPPLIED

Top: Bailey’s partner Rose Shortland with their baby daughter Linda - who would die of accidental causes from severe burns when her bassinet caught fire from a kitchen fire. Above: Rose Shortland ran off with Bailey when she was just 14 and he was 21. SUPPLIED

“Paul’s mother said that she would like one too,” Rose would later tell the police in a statement. “She said to me that she liked uniforms because her husband did. It was like father, like son.”

Just 14 when she had run away with a 21-year-old Bailey to the South Island, Rose had become used to her partner's sexual fantasies. 

But those fantasies took a dark turn when the couple and their two young children moved to Ettrick in late 1988.

A charming man, Bailey befriended a local 12-year-old girl, inviting her to his home, where she would smoke cannabis with him and Rose.

Around the same time, the couple’s baby daughter Linda died of severe burns after her bassinet caught fire in their kitchen.

Witnesses claimed it had been deliberately left on the oven elements but Bailey denied that, saying it was on the bench and the elements were on to warm the kitchen. The baby’s death was eventually ruled accidental, though some, including firefighters, had their doubts.

Bailey drinking a can of beer in his kitchen.

Bailey’s violent tendencies surfaced when he drank. SUPPLIED

Bailey’s violent tendencies surfaced when he drank. SUPPLIED

Bailey started drinking heavily, sharing whisky with the girl he was grooming. She began staying overnight, her father ignorant to what was unfolding.

Bailey soon subjected her to a sexual encounter while she was on pills and alcohol he had given her, his fetish later coming to the fore as he asked her to keep her school uniform on.

The sexual encounters became increasingly violent.

According to her police statement, the girl said Bailey first raped her at knifepoint in a tool shed where there was an old mattress on the floor and pornographic pictures covering the walls.

On holiday with the couple in Nelson, he repeatedly raped her again, the girl saying he had a “thing for rivers” - conditions similar to where Kylie met her end.

Rose, herself damaged by Bailey, claimed she was “out of it on drugs and alcohol” during that period, and said at one stage she told the girl to lay a rape complaint with police. 

Horrifyingly, even his mother knew of what he was doing to the girl, but didn’t deem it serious enough to report it.

Bailey had a strange relationship with his parents, which seems to have begun as a child in England, where he lived until 1972. Anecdotally, Bailey told a confidante his mother was “harsh”. 

The family moved to New Zealand for seven years before returning to England between 1979 and 1981. Bailey told both Rose and the girl he had murdered a person in England, shooting him on a rugby field.

New Zealand police would make inquiries with their UK counterparts, but no evidence of such a murder was ever found.

Bailey in blue jumper pulling open either side of his mouth open with his fingers, sticking out his tongue.

Bailey, 27, had already raped a 12-year-old girl and attempted to rape a 23-year-old Ettrick woman by the time he arrived in Owaka. SUPPLIED

Bailey, 27, had already raped a 12-year-old girl and attempted to rape a 23-year-old Ettrick woman by the time he arrived in Owaka. SUPPLIED

In Ettrick, Bailey directed the woman from the bar down several back roads, away from his home.

He told her to park outside some old huts, but instead of getting out he became aggressive - and told her he was going to rape her.

Petrified, she managed to flee to a house.

But as she screamed for help Bailey caught up, muffling her screams with a hand over her mouth before pushing her back into the car. 

He drove her to a nearby hut, dragged her inside, took his clothes off and attempted to sexually assault her.

The violence only stopped when neighbours noticed the lights and came to investigate.

Later, Bailey would claim he blacked out from the alcohol and did not remember any of it. 

The traumatised woman complained to police, but Bailey would deny a charge of attempted rape in the Alexandra District Court.

Newspaper clipping reporting Bailey denied charge of attempted rape.

When the court granted him name suppression on September 26 and released him on bail, it would set in motion a turn of events that would lead to Kylie’s death and ignite a tinderbox of anger.

Indoor night photo of a moustached Bailey standing in a lounge room.
Bailey wearing a reddish coloured t-shirt looking towards the floor. Behind him is a white framed door with glass panels. An old wall-mounted dial-up telephone in the background.
Overhead view of Owaka township with the surrounding hills in the background.

A small rural town with a population of only 429 people in 1991, Owaka was a tight-knit community that came together to search for Kylie when she went missing.

A small rural town with a population of only 429 people in 1991, Owaka was a tight-knit community that came together to search for Kylie when she went missing.

When a young Baptist pastor, his wife and their two young children arrived in Owaka 18 months before Kylie went missing they were welcomed by the community.

Kind, friendly and fresh from Bible college, the couple were happy to call the cosy town their home, ministering to full congregations on Sunday mornings, their children attending the local school and playcentre.

It was at one of those Sunday services, two weeks before Kylie’s death, that the pastor and his wife first saw Bailey and his family in the pews. 

Bailey seemed genial, his partner warm and well-spoken.

A member of the Baptist congregation in another Otago town, Roxburgh, rang the Owaka pastor and said he understood Bailey was living in the area and might need some help.

An orchard worker in Upper Moutere and Ettrick, Bailey had a history of fleeing town when he got into trouble. SUPPLIED

An orchard worker in Upper Moutere and Ettrick, Bailey had a history of fleeing town when he got into trouble. SUPPLIED

A week later Bailey told him he was living near Kaka Point but needed a job and a car, and the pastor and his wife agreed to help the struggling young family.

“That’s what churches do - they help people,” the pastor, who Stuff has agreed not to name to protect his safety, said as he recounted for the first time what happened three decades ago.

It was then that Bailey admitted he was on bail from an incident in Ettrick but claimed he had been falsely accused of indecently assaulting a woman, saying she had “made it up” and he had only tried to “kiss and cuddle” her.

Uneasy, the pastor asked Balclutha police about him, but they could tell him nothing, and he began to believe Bailey’s version of events, reasoning the police would have raised concerns if they had any.

The week Bailey killed Kylie, the pastor drove him to a court hearing in Alexandra, hoping to find out more.

The judge said there was insufficient evidence to proceed and adjourned proceedings, and the pastor, still unaware of what Bailey had done, felt more assured of his story - entirely innocent of how skilled a manipulator and liar he was.

“He pulled the wool over my eyes right from the word go.”

BAPTIST PASTOR

BAPTIST PASTOR

Corner coffee shop.
Old house with old caravan in front garden.
Owaka Motors.
Item 1 of 3
Corner coffee shop.
Old house with old caravan in front garden.
Owaka Motors.

The pastor and his wife set about helping the young family, passing on details of a local with a blue Volkswagen for sale.

Several times they welcomed Bailey and his family into their home in the days before Kylie’s murder.

But they wondered why his children flinched when he made quick movements, and Rose confided in the pastor’s wife that Bailey was aggressive after drinking.

The pastor helped find him work repairing a drain for Ian Wallace, the local pharmacist.

Wallace found him hard-working, and asked him what he was going to court for.

Bailey’s hidden history included violence towards women and girls. Before he arrived in Owaka he had raped a 12-year-old girl at knifepoint. SUPPLIED

Bailey’s hidden history included violence towards women and girls. Before he arrived in Owaka he had raped a 12-year-old girl at knifepoint. SUPPLIED

“You name it, except for drugs and violence,” Bailey said.

“I assumed that when he had come to Owaka he had left that side of himself behind,” Wallace would later say.

The day before the murder, Bailey ended up working alongside Kylie’s dad at Wallace’s property, where Bevan was contracted to lay pipe.

On November 1 Bailey pulled up outside the pastor’s home shortly after 2pm, and the couple saw him fiddling with something in the front seat.

Bailey helped the pastor load a gun cabinet into his car to take to a Balclutha sports shop, and when he drove away he left Bailey talking to his wife on the lawn.

He did not know that the object Bailey had been fiddling with was a .22 sawn-off rifle, and that what he was planning could have meant grave danger to his wife.

Dawn folding framed photo of Kylie with one of her horses.

Kylie's mother, Dawn Smith, now lives alone in the same Owaka house her husband built, with only the memories of her daughter and family to keep her company.

Kylie's mother, Dawn Smith, now lives alone in the same Owaka house her husband built, with only the memories of her daughter and family to keep her company.

Friday, November 1 started much the same as any other day in the busy Smith household. 

A dedicated teacher, Dawn had left before Kylie awoke. The teenager got dressed and headed into the open-plan lounge and kitchen her father had built in their two-storey house, tussling with him over the newspaper so she could read it over breakfast.

After walking home from school and fetching a bite to eat, she was out the door at 4.30pm to ride her horse Nick, heading south out of town in the drizzle towards a local farm to practise. Had the weather been worse, she would have ridden around the town instead.

Kylie horse jumping on her black horse Nick.

Shortly after Kylie set out on her daily ride, her black horse Nick cantered up Owaka’s main street without her, sparking a huge community search. SUPPLIED

Shortly after Kylie set out on her daily ride, her black horse Nick cantered up Owaka’s main street without her, sparking a huge community search. SUPPLIED

The last known sighting of Kylie occurred not long after she and Nick headed south along Waikawa Road, just 200 metres from the town and in sight of passing traffic, when a farmer saw her talking to someone in a dark car parked at the side of the road. 

Police later learned that what the farmer most likely saw were the last moments before Kylie was forced from her horse at gunpoint, ordered to lie down in the back of the car and abducted.

Minutes later the local mailman saw her startled horse cantering up the main street and grabbed him. The mailman found Kylie’s best friend, Angie Wood, and another riding companion who were running late and trying to catch up with Kylie and handed Nick to them while he went to try to find her.

At 5.25pm Kylie’s friends went to her home and found Bevan in the basement workshop. Immediately sensing something wasn’t right he drove to the farm where Kylie was meant to be practising, but she wasn’t there.

At around the same time an ambulance siren was heard, so Bevan went to the medical centre thinking she may have been injured in a fall, but Kylie was not there.

She was already far from town, heading in the opposite direction to where she had been riding, hidden inside a blue Volkswagen driven by a man her father had been working with just the previous day.

Owaka Baptist church.

After Kylie’s death the local Baptist pastor was wrongfully blamed for bringing Bailey into the community. Misinformation spread, and locals persecuted and threatened his family. Members of the community also threatened to burn the church down.

After Kylie’s death the local Baptist pastor was wrongfully blamed for bringing Bailey into the community. Misinformation spread, and locals persecuted and threatened his family. Members of the community also threatened to burn the church down.

In the heart of the Catlins, Owaka in 1991 - with its population of 429 - was the kind of town where the doctor not only delivered you but counselled you, where the local constable wasn’t just a name on a badge but a friend and a rugby mate - a conservative place with the highest number of church attendees of anywhere in the country.

Knitted together by blood or mateship in their peaceful valley, the locals saw the wider world largely through the lens of television news.

But by 6pm on November 1 there was a general unease - a sense that something intangible was shifting and that darkness was looking for a place to land. 

As news of Kylie’s disappearance spread, more than 200 locals dropped what they were doing to hunt for a girl who symbolised everything their small patch of paradise represented.

Dawn holds up Kylie's oilskin raincoat.

After raping and murdering the teenager, Bailey carefully placed Kylie’s riding helmet and crop beside her body and covered her with a raincoat. Her mother still has that raincoat today.

After raping and murdering the teenager, Bailey carefully placed Kylie’s riding helmet and crop beside her body and covered her with a raincoat. Her mother still has that raincoat today.

Farmers, freezing workers and ministers joined emergency services and the Smith family to spend a wet night hunting for the teenager in bush, paddocks and streams.

For Kylie’s mother, the wait for news was cruel. With a steady stream of visitors, Dawn’s house was full, yet she felt empty.

From the moment an anguished Bevan had run into the school staff room to tell her their daughter was missing, to searching paddocks side-by-side at the farm where Kylie was meant to be riding, she knew something was dreadfully wrong.

Initially they hoped she had fallen from her horse and perhaps broken a leg, but after an hour of searching it became clear they had to call the police.

A base was set up in the local fire station, and police from Dunedin and Balclutha arrived swiftly. 

By 7pm Dawn and Bevan were stuck inside their house on police orders, increasingly desperate.

Drained, Dawn lay on the sofa, not registering what was around her, when she felt something on her forehead. She touched it but there was nothing there, only a feeling of something similar to a spider walking across her skin. 

“I thought, ‘I think Kylie’s telling me something’,” she later told Stuff. “That’s when I realised she wasn’t coming back.”

Dawn kneeling at Kylie's graveside.

Smith not only lost her daughter at Bailey’s hands, she feels she lost her husband, Bevan, as well. The horror of what happened to Kylie marred his life.

Smith not only lost her daughter at Bailey’s hands, she feels she lost her husband, Bevan, as well. The horror of what happened to Kylie marred his life.

The following day she would find out that at about the time of her strange sensation, her daughter had been shot dead.

Hours passed until a detective, Senior Sergeant John Scott, arrived to ask for a photo to release to the media. As the night merged into morning, Dawn and Bevan were stuck in limbo, their happy home now a prison as they began to realise there was no hope of finding Kylie alive.

Dawn’s thoughts flitted from being convinced she had been abducted and was being held in Kaka Point to being terrified someone had drowned her at Pounawea, a settlement at the mouth of the Catlins River.

Her biggest fear was that they would not find Kylie’s body, something she could not bear.

“We needed to find her and bring her home.”

For young Clinton Constable Steve Wilkes, the memory of that night and the following day remains raw. A policeman of only five years, he found himself in a helicopter that Friday evening searching south of Owaka. It was later revealed Kylie was still alive at that point, but in the opposite direction. 

He often thinks about what might have been if they had searched north of the town instead of concentrating their efforts to the south, where she was last seen.

“It sticks in my mind and it never goes away.”

CLINTON CONSTABLE STEVE WILKES

CLINTON CONSTABLE STEVE WILKES

Dawn sits on Kylie's bed looking out the window. The bedroom is kept as it was the day she died.

The lay-by area on Karora Creek Rd where Bailey parked his car and marched Kylie up the hill on the left hand side of the road to her death.

The lay-by area on Karora Creek Rd where Bailey parked his car and marched Kylie up the hill on the left hand side of the road to her death.

On the day he raped and shot Kylie, Bailey spent the morning in Balclutha.

He collected a food parcel from the Salvation Army and bought wine from Liquorland, despite drinking being against his bail conditions.

At a garage he picked up a map of the Owaka area, one showing all the gravel roads.

Errands complete, Bailey returned home for lunch, before arguing with his partner about a visit to the pastor.

At 2pm he took a .22 calibre rifle from a drawer, telling Rose he planned to shoot rabbits. Bailey had sawn off the barrel and stock of the Glenfield semi-automatic he had stolen from a friend in Ettrick, effectively turning it into a pistol. 

He had loaded the magazine the night before with nine shots, fired four at a tin can and left five in the gun.

He told Rose he was heading to Owaka to check if the weather was settled enough to continue the drainage job, and dropped into the pastor’s house before driving south to the Pounawea campground, circling it slowly before returning to Owaka by an indirect route.

Police later realised Bailey had been scoping out the terrain.

Back in Owaka, he slowly drove past another girl on Waikawa Rd at 4.15pm, 15 minutes before Kylie went missing.

Looking directly down Waikawa Rd in Owaka.

Kylie was taken from her horse just 200 metres from the edge of Owaka on this road.

Kylie was taken from her horse just 200 metres from the edge of Owaka on this road.

That 17-year-old was a relative of Kylie’s and looked eerily similar, with long, blonde hair and a tall, athletic frame.

The girl later reported Bailey stared at her while he drove past, leaving her so unsettled she told her father.

Bailey cruised the town’s streets and was seen looking nervous and fidgety while reading a map at the corner of Waikawa Rd and Stuart St, with Kylie riding about 150 metres ahead of him.

Four months later while in jail, Bailey made a statement about his actions. Previously restricted but since acquired by Stuff, it reveals for the first time in his own words what happened over the following hours.

Bailey said he had gone out with the gun and “just got carried away with the fantasy”.

“It just got out of control,” he said.

When the police asked the pastor to persuade him to confess, Bailey would say his intention was always to rape and kill Kylie, and that he chose her because she was “taller than all other girls and she stood out”.

In a statement, Bailey said he stopped next to Kylie just outside Owaka, showed her his gun and ordered her off her horse and to lie across the car’s rear seat, saying she was “submissive” as he drove north.

After narrowly missing another car and forcing it into a ditch, he made his way towards Nugget Point lighthouse, about 20km away and east of Owaka, near where Bailey was living.

Several kilometres before the lighthouse he collided head-on with a car driven by two American tourists, damaging his car’s bonnet, before speeding off.

Photo of Bailey's VW Beetle showing the damage to the front.

Bailey had a head-on collision with a car driven by American tourists as he drove erratically to the site where he would rape Kylie, the teenager crouched on the floor in the passenger seat of this VW Beetle. SUPPLIED

Bailey had a head-on collision with a car driven by American tourists as he drove erratically to the site where he would rape Kylie, the teenager crouched on the floor in the passenger seat of this VW Beetle. SUPPLIED

The tourists did not see Kylie, but their report to police would prove vital in capturing her killer.

Bailey said he then drove to a scenic lookout, ordered Kylie from the car at gunpoint and walked her down to the beach, around the point and up into some scrubby bush.

It was there, he said, that he raped her, before ordering her to get dressed.

Two divers on the beach left him anxious that they may have been seen, and he sped back to Karoro Creek Rd in a panic, stopping at a layby beside a dense hill covered in scrub on the “pretext” of having sexual intercourse again.

Ordering Kylie from the car, he marched her across a stream in her socks and up steep terrain to a small flat patch on the wet hillside.

Police believe Bailey then forced Kylie to take off her riding coat, place her helmet and crop on the ground and remove her gumboots, tracksuit pants and underpants, before raping her. 

He allowed her to put back on her underpants and tracksuit pants, but before she could dress further he shot her in the back of the head.

Arranging her in a partial recovery position, he shot her twice more.

Bailey then placed Kylie’s helmet beside her and her riding coat over her, before concealing her with dead branches and ferns.

Kylie was found on a scrubby hillside on a quiet rural road 24 hours after she went missing. SUPPLIED

Kylie was found on a scrubby hillside on a quiet rural road 24 hours after she went missing. SUPPLIED

Returning to his car, he stopped on his way home to hide the gun in roadside lupins near the Kaka Point township.

At 7.15pm Rose welcomed Bailey home, relieved he seemed happy after their argument that afternoon, and the pair settled down to watch television.

That domesticity was shattered at 1.45am on Saturday when two police officers woke them to question Bailey about his movements hours earlier. 

Police noted his “nervous disposition” and thought he was acting suspiciously.

Afterwards, Bailey went back to bed, and the couple talked about Kylie being missing. They then prayed for the family, and Rose said she hoped Kylie wasn’t dead.

“Don’t think too much about it,” Bailey replied. “Try to sleep.” 

Timeline of events, 1 November 1991

2pm

Paul Bailey leaves home and heads south to Owaka.

2.30pm

Bailey visits the Baptist pastor on Bell Street in Owaka.

3.30pm

Bailey drives to Pounawea where he circles the campground looking for a victim.

3.35pm

Kylie Smith walks home from The Catlins Area School.

3.50pm

Bailey drives from Pounawea to Owaka using an indirect route to scope where he might take a victim.

4.15pm

Bailey drives past a 17-year-old girl just outside Owaka and then minutes later circles back to drive past her again. Police believe he was deciding if he would abduct her.

4.20pm

Bailey drives to Catlins Area School and is told to leave when he is spotted on the school grounds.

4.30pm

Bailey drives down the Main Road and parks up.

4.30pm

Kylie leaves Burns Street on her horse Nick, turns left and then turns left on Overden Street, before turning left on the Main Road and continuing South on Waikawa Road. She would have passed Bailey in his car on the corner of Waikawa Road and Stuart Street at around 4.35pm

4.35pm

Bailey drives and parks up on the corner of Waikawa Road and Stuart Street where he is seen acting suspiciously and was reading a map. Kylie rides past.

4.40pm

Bailey turns left onto Waikawa Road and drives past Kylie and parks. When she come past he points a gun at her and she dismounts her horse and gets into the back seat.

4.45pm

Kylie’s horse Nick canters north along Waikawa Road into town and is caught. Just north of Owaka Bailey narrowly misses a head on collision with an oncoming car and forces that car into a ditch.

Between 4.45pm and 5.05pm

Bailey travels to the Nugget Point Lighthouse. Several kilometres before the lighthouse he collides head-on with a car driven by two American tourists.

5.10pm

Bailey forces Kylie to walk down the beach at Nugget Point Lighthouse before raping her.

Sometime after 5.30pm

He parks in a lay-by area known as Painted Rock on Karoro Creek Road, forces Kylie up a steep hill in dense scrub and rapes her before shooting her three times in the head.

6.45 to 7.00pm

Bailey hides the gun in roadside bushes near Kaka Point.

7.15pm

Bailey arrives home.

5pm the next day

Kylie’s body is found.

People line the street as pallbearers carry Kylie's coffin to the hearse.

More than 1000 mourners attended Kylie’s funeral. SUPPLIED

More than 1000 mourners attended Kylie’s funeral. SUPPLIED

The Saturday afternoon when Kylie’s body was found marked the point at which the lives of the Baptist pastor and his family changed irrevocably.

Today, the events of those hours and days are still so raw they remain fearful of the consequences of publicity and hesitant of telling their story.

That morning, police visited the pastor - who had been out searching - to tell him they believed Bailey had abducted and murdered Kylie.

Officers had searched Bailey’s house, noted his efforts to fix his car and taken him to Balclutha police station for questioning.

Now they wanted the pastor to talk to Bailey to find out where Kylie was. Shocked, he could not comprehend what they were saying.

“I just didn’t think he had the ability to kill someone,” he told Stuff.

The pastor agreed to help police, and talked with Bailey alone in his cell for several hours, repeatedly asking if he had murdered Kylie.

Eventually, after being told her body had been found, Bailey hung his head. “Yes, I did … I killed her,” he said.

Horrified, the pastor did not want to continue, but knew the police needed him to persuade Bailey to formally plead guilty.

That day, and the six meetings with Bailey over two months that followed, were among the most harrowing the pastor has ever experienced.

“In some ways my belief back then was that this guy deserves to die for what he has done.”

BAPTIST PASTOR

BAPTIST PASTOR

“I know I shouldn’t say that, but I was so angry and bitter with him.”

In the initial hours he spent with Bailey before Kylie’s body was found, the pastor recalls how calm and collected he appeared. 

“I have since realised that he thought he was going to get off with it and then when they found Kylie and we told him, he started to fall apart a bit. That’s when he confessed to me.”

Bailey revealed a strange logic to his offending when the pastor asked why he hadn’t killed his own wife that afternoon. 

“He just looked at me in real horror and said, ‘I would never kill your wife’.”

It was then the pastor understood Bailey’s warped standards - that it was acceptable to kill people he didn’t know. 

“Those words have stayed with me all my life.”

Working secretly with the police over many months, the pastor eventually got Bailey to reveal where he had hidden the rifle.

But getting him to formally admit the murder proved more difficult, particularly as his lawyer urged him to deny it, leading to repeated confrontations between him and the pastor.

Eventually the pastor won the battle and persuaded Bailey to admit his crimes.

On February 7, 1992 Bailey finally pleaded guilty in court to raping and murdering Kylie. He was jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years for the murder, and 13 years for the rape.

But because the case never went to trial, the community did not get the chance to hear the facts of how Bailey came to be in Owaka or the truth behind her murder.

He has since been repeatedly denied parole, and at his most recent hearing, on April 14, was told he would not be released for at least another two years.

Almost all of Owaka attended Kylie’s funeral - apart from the Baptist pastor, who was told he wasn’t welcome. SUPPLIED

Almost all of Owaka attended Kylie’s funeral - apart from the Baptist pastor, who was told he wasn’t welcome. SUPPLIED

But in the days after Kylie’s murder, simmering tensions were about to explode as locals realised an outsider who had come into their midst a week before was responsible for the atrocity.

With Bailey locked in a cell and no answers forthcoming, they needed someone to direct their anger at.

Numb, Dawn Smith remembers little of the events of the following days but admits she and her husband were in part responsible for what happened.

For Bevan, the idea that a church had tried to help his daughter’s killer was too much. He and the community aimed their anger at the pastor, his family, and the pharmacist who had employed Bailey, the bitterness escalating into abuse and threats as the dark side of grief took over.

“Murderer” was daubed on the pastor’s home, and he vividly remembers picking up his youngest child from pre-school only to find him in the corner of the classroom because carers had shunned him.

The local garage refused to serve the family, locals boycotted the pharmacy, and the pastor learned of a plan to firebomb both his own home and that of Bailey. A lynch mob also threatened to burn down his church.

With little help from police he arranged for Rose and her children to get somewhere safe before fleeing with his own family to Milford Sound, expecting their home to be in ashes by the time they returned.

“We really feared for our lives.”

BAPTIST PASTOR

BAPTIST PASTOR

Vigilantes did burn down Bailey’s house, but the pastor’s was spared. But the steady stream of untruths and rumours broke the terrified family, forcing them to flee.

Shunned by an unforgiving community, they moved to Alexandra - where, in further persecution, he was forced to defend allegations from the local police, one of whom was a close relative of Kylie’s mother. 

Fighting those charges took 15 months, cost him all his savings and even his job when the Baptist Church dumped him after saying it couldn’t endure more negative headlines.

Moving on again, they put the pain of Bailey’s legacy behind them, the pastor becoming a salesman and a highly successful businessman, alongside his wife.

But the hurt of the last 30 years inhabits him, and the darkness of what a community became is never far from his mind. 

Fourteen years ago he and his wife lost their 18-year-old son in an accident. The grieving couple had to endure spiteful comments from people with connections to Owaka who told them their son deserved to die because the pastor, they claimed, had caused Kylie’s death.

Today he is no longer a man of the cloth, and no longer goes to church. Yet despite all the sorrow, he has managed to keep his faith.

“I’ve got this amazing wife who has been incredible, and that probably helped. I suppose the saying ‘the truth will set you free’ has kept me strong.

“The truth is that Paul Bailey was a murderer, and the truth is that I helped to put him in prison. I have to keep that to the forefront of my mind.”

He feels immense sadness for the Smith family but believes the police let everyone down.

“They were quite happy for us to take the brunt. If the police who handled the first complaint about Bailey in Ettrick had done their job, Kylie would still be alive. But they didn’t.” 

The pastor understands why Kylie’s father reacted as he did, but wishes he had been given the opportunity to sit down with the family and explain how Bailey wormed his way into his life.

“Because I never got the opportunity and was not allowed to go to Kylie’s funeral, it would be good to sit down and pass on our condolences to Dawn.”

Bailey sitting in the dock at his last parole hearing.

The last photo taken of Bailey was at a parole hearing in 2016. Today he is stockier and wears glasses.

The last photo taken of Bailey was at a parole hearing in 2016. Today he is stockier and wears glasses.

For Barry Hansen, the sole constable stationed at Owaka in 1991, the events of November 1 are never far from his thoughts.

On a day off when Kylie went missing, he has asked himself time and again if he could have helped save her.

Hansen was never alerted by the Alexandra District Court or police that Bailey was in the area - something he believes should have happened.

Had he known of Bailey’s attempted rape charge and bail he would have insisted he report every day to the police station and would have watched him closely.

In the months after the tragedy, Hansen would find himself walking down Owaka’s quiet streets at 3.30am, wondering what he could have done to change the outcome.

“It will never go away for me.”

Like Hansen, former detective John Scott, who led the investigation, believes Bailey should never be released from prison. Despite now suffering from dementia, he remembers clearly the effect Kylie’s murder had on Owaka.

“In a small town like that everybody knows everybody, and it knocks people around.”

A 1992 victim impact statement put together by police on behalf of the community supported Scott’s sentiments, stating Bailey’s actions shattered any illusions people previously held of it being a safe place to bring up children.

Scott had a more succinct way of explaining the impact of Bailey killing one of Owaka’s own.

“It crucified them.”

FORMER DETECTIVE JOHN SCOTT

FORMER DETECTIVE JOHN SCOTT

Now 71, Dawn likens the impact of her daughter’s murder to a stone thrown into a pool, the ripple getting bigger and bigger.

Her husband’s life ended that day, she feels. He could never accept that he wasn’t there for Kylie in her final hours, and it tormented him. 

He would go over and over the fear and terror she would have experienced, the unending anguish leaving a once-active community stalwart a husk of a man, withdrawn and bitter.

Bevan died at 60 from a brain haemorrhage in 2011, but Dawn believes it was from a broken heart.

Bevan on a boat holding up a large fish he's just caught.

Bevan Smith never got over what happened to his daughter in her final hours. He passed away on a fishing trip from a brain haemorrhage when he was just 60, but his wife Dawn maintains he died of a broken heart. SUPPLIED

Bevan Smith never got over what happened to his daughter in her final hours. He passed away on a fishing trip from a brain haemorrhage when he was just 60, but his wife Dawn maintains he died of a broken heart. SUPPLIED

She still lives in the large Owaka house she and Bevan lovingly built but is alone, instead of enjoying family weekends with her husband and Kylie’s children. She has three grandchildren from son Rhiane, but it struggles to fill the hole.

At his latest parole hearing, Bailey admitted he still had sexually inappropriate thoughts about women.

Dawn, who herself gave evidence to the board, was delighted at the decision to keep him behind bars and said that Bailey should never be released.

Although a caring, resilient woman, she has a residing anger for the man who destroyed so many lives.

“If he walked in the room now I would pick up a knife and I would kill him … I just loathe the man intensely. If he gets out we are all in trouble.”

Kylie's bed post funeral with a wreath laid on her pillow. SUPPLIED

Bailey remains in prison and in April was again refused parole. But it is little comfort to Kylie’s mother and a community which continues to mourn the loss of one of its own - and the loss of an innocent way of life that is no more. SUPPLIED

Bailey remains in prison and in April was again refused parole. But it is little comfort to Kylie’s mother and a community which continues to mourn the loss of one of its own - and the loss of an innocent way of life that is no more. SUPPLIED


WORDS: Nadine Porter
VISUALS: Chris Skelton
DESIGN: Kathryn George
EDITORS: Dominic Harris and Blair Ensor


Archive footage provided by Newshub

If you value facts and being well-informed, please consider supporting Stuff. Make a contribution

Why? Because the chaotic start to 2021 has underscored the catastrophic effects of misinformation. Inflammatory rhetoric left unchecked - and amplified across social platforms - has harmed how countries have responded to the pandemic, and has damaged democracy.

Stuff’s ethical reporting is built on accuracy, fairness and balance. With millions of New Zealanders turning to us every day, it’s our mission to make Aotearoa a better place.

But the way journalism is funded is changing and we need your help to sustain local newsrooms.

If Stuff is a regular part of your day, please consider becoming a supporter. You can make a contribution from as little as $1. Be part of our story, and help us tell yours.

Become a supporter