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Big city murder in Geraldine (The Des Payne murder)
65 year-old Desmond Payne was the victim of a random, unprovoked, senseless murder, which rocked the small town of Geraldine
Ron Henderson finished his beer, returned the glasses and went out the front of the Crown hotel to wait for his ride. Des Payne had already left to make a quick purchase and collect the car.

Time ticked on and still Des hadn’t appeared to collect his mate. Ron became concerned and went to investigate.

When he arrived at Desmond Payne’s green cortina, he was shocked to find his friend slumped in his car, the fresh blood seeping from stab wounds through his clothes. 65 year-old Desmond Payne was the victim of a random, unprovoked, senseless murder, which rocked the small Geraldine town.

Des always appeared at the Crown Hotel in Geraldine, Friday lunchtimes, to share a jug with his friends. That day of his murder (27 July 2001), as he finished his jug and walked towards the Geraldine Motors to make a purchase, his friends had no idea that would be the last time they saw him alive.

As semi-retired Desmond Payne returned to his car in the hotel car park, a 45 year-old-Raymond Cullen attacked him. Stabbing him and throwing him into his car. As the blood flowed, the life soon drained away from the 65-year-old grandfather.

A 40 strong police team was soon employed and Geraldine was turned over with a fine tooth comb. No motive was established and there was no obvious witness to the attack. Police placed a mannequin dressed as Des Payne up to try and jog people’s memories. His car was lifted into a container and sent to Christchurch for examination, while the local rubbish dump was carefully searched.

When Raymond Lloyd Cullen was finally arrested for the murder of Des Payne on 12 September 2001, seven weeks had gone by. After appearing in Christchurch District Court, he entered no plea and was remanded in custody to appear in Timaru District Court on September 25, 2001.

It was discovered that Des Payne’s death had been a random attack, a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Much to the families’ distress, his killer was found not guilty on the grounds of insanity.




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65 year-old Desmond Payne was the victim of a random, unprovoked, senseless murder, which rocked the small town of Geraldine

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