Mate defends accused NZ killer
The man accused of murdering Australian Sean McKinnon in New Zealand posted "F**k the world" on one of his Facebook profiles.
The 33-year-old Victorian was shot several times while asleep with his fiancee Bianca Buckley by his side in their campervan near Raglan, a popular surf spot.
A 23-year-old man was charged with the murder on Saturday after he allegedly fired shots into the campervan, before driving off in it, with Mr McKinnon dying inside as Ms Buckley fled for her life.
The accused - who cannot be named - appeared to have two Facebook profiles, with one saying "F**k the world" as its intro.
A friend of a man charged with the murder of Mr McKinnon in New Zealand has posted on social media about the accused's struggles.
New Zealand police continue to search for the murder weapon and have appealed for witnesses to come forward if they saw a hitchhiker near a small town where the body of Mr McKinnon was found in his campervan.
Mr McKinnon's body was later found in the vehicle in the nearby town of Gordonton at 8am on Friday.
A friend of the alleged killer took to social media on Sunday, posting a public photo of him and the man standing side by side. "I witnessed your struggle brother ...," he wrote.
The post comes just one day after the man faced Hamilton District Court and was remanded in custody to appear again in the High Court on August 27, with his name and identity suppressed.
The accused, who is originally from the town of Te Aroha, had previously posted several photos of himself with his middle finger up - the most recent picture with the same gesture posted just under one month ago.
He also posted photos wearing a shirt with the words "Go get F****ed" printed on the back.
Waikato police said on Sunday they are still looking for the gun used in the attack and they're working to return Mr McKinnon's body to his family. They're urging anyone who may have spotted a hitchhiker around Gordonton or at nearby Whitikahu during the day on Friday to contact them.
Mr McKinnon's sister, Emmeline, told reporters outside court "we just don't know even how to begin to put life together without him".
"The worst thing was telling my mother," Ms McKinnon added.
She said her brother's fiancee Ms Buckley had been "amazingly resilient and strong".
"I cannot even begin to understand what she's gone through." "She's a really strong young woman. We're just really glad she's alive." Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said Ms Buckley remained shocked and traumatised from her ordeal.
"She is thankful that an arrest within a 24-hour period has occurred and we're working with her and her family, and we'll continue to be in touch with her around her welfare," he said.
FIANCEE'S TRIBUTE TO AUSSIE
Mr McKinnon's heartbroken fiancee Bianca Buckley has posted a moving tribute to her "protector" who was killed in a random attack on Friday morning.
The 33-year-old Aussie and his 32-year-old Canadian-born partner were sleeping in their rented campervan at the Te Toto Gorge carpark in Ragland, New Zealand in the early hours of Friday morning when the accused killer allegedly banged on the vehicle and demanded their keys.
He then allegedly shot Mr McKinnon and drove away with the surfer's body in the van.
Miraculously, Ms Buckley was able to escape, and it is believed she ran for several kilometres in the darkness to find help.
Yesterday, Ms Buckley paid tribute to Mr McKinnon, who she described as "the light and love of my life".
"My greatest teacher. My protector," she said in a note released to the Nine Network.
Ms Buckley and Mr McKinnon's Facebook pages have both been inundated with condolences from friends and strangers alike since the tragedy occurred.
"Random Kiwi here … from the bottom of our hearts we are so sorry this has happened," one New Zealander wrote on Mr McKinnon's page.
"What a cruel messed up world we live in at times … So heartbreaking to read this story. Condolences to his fiancee, family and friends," another posted.
Ms Buckley is from Halifax in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
According to Halifax Today, she was working as a midwife in New Zealand, and Mr McKinnon had joined her for a short surfing holiday at the time of the attack.
Her former high school, the Sacred Heart School of Halifax, has also posted a message of support online.
Ms Buckley and Mr McKinnon, from Warrnambool in Victoria, got engaged around Christmas 2017.
Mr McKinnon's sister, Emmeline, said he was a world traveller who lived for surfing, friends and family.
"He did everything with a smile.
"He was devastatingly handsome and a caring, sensitive young man, even as a boy. He would always tell you he loved you and would give you a hug.
"He had a great sense of humour."
Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley told the New Zealand Herald police were still searching for the weapon used in the attack.
He said authorities were still piecing together the events surrounding the incident and called for witnesses to come forward who may have seen a man hitchhiking in the area on Friday.
"As part of our ongoing inquiries, police are looking for anyone who may have seen any hitchhikers in the Gordonton - Whitikahu area during daylight hours on Friday," he said.
"Particularly, if any motorists that travelled this route on Friday have dashcam footage, police would like to hear from you."
Mr McKinnon's mother Rhonda, brother Lachlan and four sisters have since flown to New Zealand, and they faced his accused killer as he appeared in Hamilton District Court charged with murder, aggravated robbery, threatening to kill and driving disqualified.
He is due to face another hearing on August 27.
The murder, which has sent shockwaves across Australia, New Zealand and Canada, comes just weeks after another Australian man, Lucas Fowler, was shot dead alongside his American partner Chynna Deese during a campervan holiday in Canada.
Suspected killers Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were eventually found dead following a massive manhunt.