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John Barlow (The Thomas Murders)
On 16 February, 1994, financial dealers Eugene and Gene Thomas, father and son, were found shot to death in their offices at the Invincible Building on The Terrace in Wellington.
The main suspect was John Barlow who was seen leaving the building around the time the murders occurred. Barlow contacted the media before his arrest to publicize his claims of innocence. He said he had seen the bodies and left immediately, telling no-one for fear of being blamed. Barlow was arrested and charged with both murders. Police found that the diary on Eugene Thomas's desk had a page torn out for the day of the murders. Through a documents expert it was established that the missing page had recorded an appointment with Barlow at 5.30pm.

Barlow gave different accounts of what he had seen and heard on the day of the murders. In one account he said Gene Thomas asked him to return later and he left. In the second, he said he heard a gunshot when he was leaving and on his way home, decided to come back and investigate. He found Gene and Eugene dead and left the crime scene.

The first trial began in 1995. The main piece of police evidence was Barlow's CZ27 pistol, silencer and .32 ammunition. This had been recovered from the Happy Valley rubbish tip, after police had found a receipt in Barlow's belongings for the tip dated one day after the murders. The pistol had a .22 calibre barrel but the Thomases had been shot with a .32 barrel. It was established that the pistol was designed to take a .32 barrel but this was not found.

Evidence was als
He said he had seen the bodies and left immediately, telling no-one for fear of being blamed.
o introduced that Barlow had told to a friend he had found the bodies when he turned up for the meeting. He said he had earlier lent Eugene Thomas the pistol and found it lying next to him. Panicking that the murder weapon would be traced to him, he decided to get rid of it.

At the first and second trial the defense pointed to lack of motive even though Barlow was known to have a large loan with the Thomases' business and was in financial hardship. Because the .32 barrel was never found, it was not conclusively established that Barlow's pistol was the murder weapon. The defense also provided expert testimony that the bullets found in the bodies could not have been fired from the pistol. Both trials ended in hung juries.

A third trial took place in October 1995. New evidence from the prosecution was introduced, which negated the defense's contention that the bullets could not have been fired from the pistol. The new study and testimony said the CZ27 pistol could have fired the fatal shots and the bullets found at the tip were the same type as the bullets in the bodies. This was strongly contested by the defense.

John Barlow was found guilty of both murders. Later the Court of Appeal upheld the verdict, feeling confident in the third jury's decision.

Barlow is serving mandatory life with no parole until he has served at least 14 years.

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Eugene and Gene Thomas were found murdered in their offices in Wellington. The man convicted of the crime was John Barlow. This is the story.

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