Jenni McManus, Detective Malcolm Thomas and the real story behind the repossessions

Jenni Jeune McManus NBR Journalist

Jenni McManus in her conversation with Jonathan Egglestone, the alter ego of one of the men she had defamed in her articles in September 1988, claimed that Senior Sergeant Alan Davidson had given her detail on the circumstances surrounding the repossessions. The information Davidson had relayed to McManus was of course false. (Audio below) [Note: This recording is now hosted on our own site because McManus has had the YouTube version blocked in New Zealand]

Davidson had apparently told McManus that the police presence was simply to prevent a breach of the peace. A fear, according to Davidson, held  by the repossession agent, ex-Detective Sergeant Steven John Dimery.

The truth, however, was very different. Detective Malcolm Thomas, Sergeant Alan Davidson and the other police involved, with the exception of junior uniformed officers: including Constable Barry Woon, had in fact been responsible for inciting the repossessions and the subsequent laying of false charges against the brothers.

Whilst the brothers had suspected the police involvement from the outset, their gut feeling was not real evidence.

Thomas had sought search warrants on spurious grounds; the brothers had questioned Thomas about the use of these warrants during police interviews, which unbeknownst to Thomas were taped. During one of these interviews Thomas had made a number of strange statements which tied him to a particular creditor and further evidenced his involvement.

Far from fearing a breach of the peace Thomas had been drumming up business for his old mate Steve Dimery and then actively assisting him in the repossessions. Thomas’s only motivation, of course, was to stop the businesses trading, producing revenue and meeting their obligations.

Gisborne District Councillor Alan Davidson

Senior Sergeant, now Gisborne District Councillor Alan Davidson

Constable Barry Woon. One of the brothers held this view of Woon: “I think Woon was an honest cop. I remember that on an occasion when Malcolm Thomas had sent Woon to arrest me Woon apologised and wanted me to know that he was not responsible for what had been happening”, he obviously felt bad but claimed that he had to follow orders. I always reflect on that; All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing

The first repossession that the brothers could place Thomas at was the Titan Metal Industries theft. Thomas and Dimery had been active in conspiring to repossess the gear for a week or more.  (click here to hear tape)

The owner of Titan Metal Industries Warwick Orr, when chatting to Jonathan Parker confirmed that. Orr noted that he first spoke with Detective Malcolm Thomas at the Gisborne police station. Orr explains in the same conversation that he had been given Steve Dimery’s (Gisborne Investigations) contact details by Detective Malcolm Thomas.

Orr had then contacted Dimery; the plan was simple Thomas and Dimery organised for the alarm to be ignored by the monitoring company, the company contracted to respond to an alarm being triggered was Teleguard/Gisborne Security, which was owned by another ex-police officer and Thomas/Dimery associate Brian Francis McBreen. McBreen would two months later conspire with Thomas in an attempt to have two of the brothers falsely charged and convicted of criminal assault. (click here to read that story)

Steve Dimery Ex-cop repossession agent and Thomas’s mate. A rather surly and aggressive man, part Jack Russell; you know, the part that’s left behind fouling the lawn.

Dimery and Thomas had organised for a locksmith to drill out the locks. Detective Thomas was present and assisting. The staff at Gisborne Security (concerned with the possibility that they could be charged with theft), had advised the brothers that everyone involved, including Malcolm Thomas, had met at Steve Dimery’s office, prior to the break and enter. They also confirmed that Thomas was giving the orders.

Thomas had also telephoned another co-conspirator, his girl friend at the Gisborne Herald; Marianne Spence. She in turn organised for a Herald photographer to be present and photograph the goods being removed and a a subsequent front page story in the Gisborne Herald.

Once the theft was complete the locks were replaced. Thomas took the new key’s(keeping a set for Dimery and himself) and later claimed during a police interview that he had just been walking past, that Steve Dimery had walked over to him, handed him the keys and requested that he inspect the property.

Incidentally Thomas later attempted to have the brothers charged with making a false complaint against Dimery in an attempt to further muddy the water.

During the same interview, having heard Thomas’s, obviously, contrived recollections, the brothers quickly formed the view that he had been involved. Following this interview the brothers started to collect evidence of  that involvement. Just how seminal Thomas’s participation had been was to come as a huge surprise.

Thomas had also assisted Dimery in an unsuccessful attempt to repossess equipment for CFC, in breach of an agreement between that company and the brothers. During another police interview (also taped) Thomas states, “You gave me an undertaking that the gear would be there”.

This and other statements made by Thomas during the interview evidenced more than just a physical involvement. Thomas was clearly annoyed displaying an obvious emotional response for his failure; having been thwarted and unable to grab the gear as he had assured CFC he could.

This also evidenced that the police presence had absolutely nothing to do with any purported fear of a breach of the peace. During the aforementioned interview and various other chronologically related interviews Thomas had been questioned as to why he had obtained bogus search warrants and more importantly  why he and the police accompanying him had searched handbags; when the warrant was clearly for bulky items.

Thomas was also challenged for having taken photographs of a truck loaded with large cooking appliances. Thomas claimed at that time that he had photographed the goods on the back of the truck for “for future investigations and evidential purposes”. This question and Thomas’s response would later prove critical in piecing together Detective Thomas’s modus operandi.

Following the interview the brothers began the task of telephoning every creditor, posing as a repossession agent, Jonathan Parker of Amalgamated Collections.

The goods on the back of the truck, that Thomas had photographed, had been purchased from Hobart Berkel. Amongst the first telephone calls to be made was one to the National Manager of Hobart Berkel, Mr Brian Wheeler.

Wheeler advised Jonathan Parker that he had indeed received an unsolicited call from Detective Malcolm Thomas. Thomas had apparently advised wheeler that he had evidence of some goods on the back of a truck and that he was looking for creditors who had retention of title clauses in their contracts.

He had also told Wheeler that he was specifically looking for creditors who had the retention clauses “So that he could do them (the brothers) for theft”

Wheelers account of the unsolicited call evidenced beyond doubt that Thomas had been inciting the repossessions. Thomas had been actively collecting information using his bogus search warrants, stealing documents and photographing goods unrelated to the warrants and then using that information to locate creditors in a planned attempt to incite more repossession and solicit criminal complaints.

The brothers now had evidence of at least one incident wherein Thomas had used this modus operandi. In the days following numerous other creditors were telephoned by Jonathan Parker, using a similar ruse; every creditor spoken too had similar stories to tell – that of having been contacted by Detective Malcolm Thomas. Most, however, declined to accept Thomas’s criminal assistance and invitation to “just go in and Grab the gear” and then we’ll organise for a complaint of theft to be laid.

Thomas had in one particular instance, however, bitten off more than he could chew. He had used the same invitation to inveigle a party that was not a genuine creditor. Thomas had telephoned Hi-lite Industries and spoken to its owner Robin Pearce, the company had supplied lighting equipment for the restaurant project.

Pearce was well aware that there was a serious dispute over his company’s invoices. He knew that he had over charged the brothers $26’000.00. What Pearce and his Solicitor Alexander Lee would attempt next was truly Machiavellian.

Pearce jumped at the opportunity to eradicate this debt and readily accepted Malcolm Thomas’s invitation. Pearce was about to receive an even greater benefit, or so he thought.

Once Pearce was on board Thomas contacted Detective Matt Willcox in Christchurch, his co-conspirator and muse.

Thomas’s corrupt mate and the original designer of the conspiracy Detective Stanley Matthew Willcox was given the task of taking statements from Pearce. Thomas, so as to ensure Willcox was assigned the case had bypassed the police protocol of contacting the commanding officer first.

He needed this to happen, they had both planned this for a long time, it was corruption. No other cop could do what Thomas needed. Next Willcox, feigning ignorance memos his commanding officer and tells him that he has received a request for assistance from “a Detective Malcolm Thomas” in Gisborne, requesting that he obtain a statement from a Mr Robin Pearce as part of Detective Thomas’s fraud investigation.

Willcox then met with both Robin Pearce and his Solicitor Alexander Lee and both are advised of the plan Thomas and Willcox had in mind. Pearce was ecstatic, the plan was better than he had anticipated, not only would he manage to escape his obligation to refund $26’000.00 with what Thomas and Willcox had in mind he stood to get paid almost $20,000.00.

Thomas and Willcox then provided Pearce’s solicitor, Alexander Lee, with a falsified contract, designed to create a false charge of theft

Corrupt Detective Malcolm Thomas

Using the documents that the corrupt cops had given him Lee then attempted to obtain summary judgement against the brothers personally. If successful Pearce would benefit to the tune of almost $20,000.00, which when combined with the amount owed to the brothers meant a gain of almost $46’000.00. This would then also enable Thomas and Willcox to lay the planned criminal charges against the brothers and their mother.

It all started to seriously unravel, however, when the High Court Judge didn’t believe Alexander Lee, according to Lee himself;

“I spent almost two hours trying to convince the judge, he didn’t believe me either”

The plan looked as if it was dead in the water, but Thomas would make one last ditched attempt to save it. He contacted Lee and a corrupt local solicitor Gordon Webb and together they conspired to invent a conversation between Lee and the brother that had represented the family’s’ interests in Court.

This plan too was to come spectacularly undone. What none of the conspirators had anticipted was that the brothers had already been inside their camp. Alexander Lee, who had claimed he knew the brothers, had in fact been talking to the man from Amalgamated Collections, the very helpful Jonathan Parker.

Hi-Lite was one of the first on the list of creditors telephoned. Unbeknownst to Lee, Jonathan Parker had in fact spoken with both him and Keith Mitchellmore, Hi-Lite’s accountant. Mitchellmore was oblivious to the Machiavellian plans of his employer, Robin Pearce, his Solicitor and their new bent police friends.

Mitchellmore could only be expected to repeat the truth and Jonathan Parker had been there to tape it. (Click here to listen to the tape)

Thomas in the meantime had telephoned and telexed Willcox. Setting in motion their plan to falsely accuse the brother of perjury, using the aforementioned false claim of a conversation on the steps of the court, in an attempt to get the High Court ruling over turned.

What Thomas could not have anticipated was that Lee had already told Jonathan Parker all about Thomas and Willcox’s involvement and importantly that Willcox had arranged for Lee to provide yet another spurious police statement.

Nor could Thomas have possibly imagined that Keith Mitchellmore had let the cat out of the bag, outing Thomas and Willcox and detailing the conspiratorial calls and meetings with his master Robin Pearce and his solicitor Alexander Lee. The Brothers now knew that Thomas had contacted Pearce first, again giving the alleged creditor Steve Dimery’s contact details and reassuring them that he personally was involved, all would go well and that the brothers would soon be spending time in prison – their credibility shot.

This time however Detective Malcolm Thomas had gone much further than he had with the other creditors he had telephoned or assisted, he and Willcox had provided  falsified documents to Solicitor, Alexander Lee, and Lee had knowingly relied on these same fraudulent documents in his High Court application for a summary judgement against the brothers.

Thomas and his co-conspirators knew that the genuine contract was with Property Stock. Mitchellmore had written to Dimery and advised him of that fact – yet Thomas and Willcox with full knowledge of the truth had conspired to provide the aforementioned falsified document.

A call was again made to Alexander Lee, wherein Jonathan Parker divulged his true identity and reminded Lee of what had been discussed in previous conversations. Lee panicked, telephoned Willcox and let him know that their deal was off, they had been sprung. (click here to listen to the tape)

Willcox had now been exposed; he had for years remained hidden his malice veiled. Willcox was a text book psychotic personality violent, arrogant and narcissistic ; convinced that his credibility as a police officer would protect him, as it had in the past, he telephoned the brother – that hadn’t been his first mistake, but it did prove to be his last.

From beginning to end the repossessions had been part of a larger plan, a plan designed by Detectives Willcox in mid 1984 and executed with the assistance of Thomas. Designed to destroy the wealth and wellbeing of Willcox’s nemesis a man Willcox had been consumed with hatred for since he had been convicted for assault (given a section 42 discharge) almost half a decade prior.

Bent Solicitor Gordon Webb, it’s amazing how a B&W snap hides a boozed up ruddy complexion

Despite Lee and Willcox now being out of the picture Detective Thomas, in order to save his own skin, pursued the false allegation of a conversation on the steps of the Gisborne Court house which his mate Gorden Webb falsely claimed he had overheard. Whilst the brothers had the tapes and had made complaints they had however been advised by a secretary for the minister of police not to hand the tapes to police, the secretary was of the view that the police hierarchy was corrupt.

Alexander Lee was gone, he had no intention of making a false statement for Willcox and Thomas. Lee knew that he was already in enough trouble. Thomas however would still attempt to pursue the Hi-Lite charges with the assistance of the false allegation that a conversation had taken place; using Gorden Webb‘s false allegations.

Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Shortland

Once the brothers realised that Webb had agreed to lie for Thomas they sought to question and warn him that they had evidence of the perjury he would be committing. Webb immediately called Thomas. The Corrupt Detective Thomas then set events in motion, utilizing another bent cop Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Shortland.

Steve Shortland had also been involved in the attempted theft of Hi-Lite supplied equipment. Wayne Butcher had told the brothers that he had been advised by Hi-Lite Industries to contact Thomas and or Shortland to gain access to the restaurant. Shortland, according to the documents Wayne Butcher had received from Hi-Lite also knew about the stolen set of keys and where they could be located, subsequently sending Butcher to see Steve Dimery. Butcher  would not act for two weeks according to Kieth Mitchellmore and Wayne Butcher himself; why? Because the main man Detective Thomas was on holiday. (listen to the Wayne butcher tape, it,s all about the attempted theft by Thomas and Hi-lite, the stolen set of keys and Shortland’s involvement)

Now that could hardly be because of the much touted and apparently “feared breach of the peace”, where were all the other cops!

Together Shortland and Thomas approached Chief Inspector Norm Cook and sought approval for the brothers arrest for breaching bail. Thomas had unsurprisingly falsely claimed that the brothers had threatened Webb and were in breach of the aforementioned draconian bail conditions Thomas had been successful in obtaining from the local judge, a complete fuckwit, Ian Thomas.

The brother was arrested on the afternoon of the 19th April whilst reporting to the Gisborne police station. A complaint was made by Russell Fairbrother, this particular brothers barrister. As a result Chief Inspector Norm Cook wrote to the regional Commander in Rotorua. Cook was obviously concerned. One paragraph of Norm “Cookie” Cooks letter dated the 24th May 1989 shows Thomas and Shortland as being responsible, Norm Cook, apparently, has his own personal view on the bail conditions;

Detective Thomas considered that this was a serious breach of bail as thisunusual condition had been imposed on [the brother] after his previous activities in badgering witnesses. The effect on Mr Webb was that he would be reluctant to appear in the police case again after this incident. I was also aware from experience that attempting to discuss the matter with [the brother] would not be successful.

There was no witness badgering, remember none of the creditors,with the exception of Alexander Lee, were even aware of the fact that they had been contacted, Thomas however suspected that they had been  – Thomas only knew about Lee because Willcox had phoned him. The sole reason Thomas had the bail conditions imposed was to stop the brothers collecting more evidence of the conspiracy and Thomas’s own criminal offending.

Gordon Webb’s true concerns lay not with allegations of witness badgering, he knew they were false, rather they lay with Alexander Lee’s sudden and inexplicable failure to co-operate with the corrupt Detectives Thomas and Willcox.

Thomas was fully aware that he and Webb had conspired to invent the alleged conversation, so was Lee, but obviously he was no longer playing ball; having left the Country. Thomas, however, never had any difficulty recruiting locals, they had after all previously excused him for a very serious crime against humanity, he too was a text book psychopath, even senior police held that view. Thomas knew full well that there was a valid civil dispute, remember he had supplied Lee with the falsified paper work in the first instance – the debt did not exist – the Courts consistently up held that fact!

Thomas, obviously, was aware that he had maliciously incited the repossessions. He also knew that he and Willcox had been active in destroying the mens reputations and the business’s viability since June 1987. Yet despite numerous complaints senior police, including Cook , refused to investigate, continued to condone and actively worked to conceal Thomas’s criminal offending and any document that would prove it!


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  • Interesting story, This guy Warwick Orr sounds like a real scumbag being part of the corrupt coppers conspiracy. I knew the bent copper “Thomas” when I lived in Gisborne a few years ago. Life was not kind, he had a shit load of kids and a crippled wife. Real nasty bitter scrawny little man, then again it’s all about Karma.

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