23 OCT 2014

– A minor neighbourhood dispute in a small Victorian town has ended with three members of one family shot dead.

Peter Lockhart and his wife Mary, aged in their 70s, along with Mrs Lockhart’s 48-year-old son Greg Holmes were killed at a property near Wedderburn in the state’s northwest on Wednesday night.

A 63-year-old local man was later arrested after a three-and-a-half hour siege.

Detective Superintendent Peter De Santo said a minor neighbourhood dispute had escalated out of the blue.

“There is some history of minor disputes in the past and when I say minor, at the very bottom end of disputes between neighbours,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“It’s just very hard to fathom how this has all unfolded.”

Police responding to a dispute about 8.30pm found the son’s body in a paddock at a property near a small settlement named Logan, south of Wedderburn.

The officers then heard gunshots from a property across the road, and retreated and cordoned off the area.

They communicated with the alleged offender on the phone and he surrendered peacefully around midnight.

A second body was found in a driveway and the third at the rear entrance to the home.

Det Supt De Santo said there was no history of violence, major disputes or assaults between the neighbours.

Mr Lockhart was well known in the community. He was president of the Wedderburn Historical Engine and Machinery Society for several years until a couple of months ago.

The editor of the society’s newsletter, Geoff Maxwell, said Mr Lockhart joined the club after he retired from farming.

“Peter was a very keen member of the engine club. They will miss what he did,” Mr Maxwell told AAP.

“He was all right. If you got along with him, you were doing well, I think.

“I think the engine club was very good for Peter.”

Mr Lockhart’s second wife, Mary, used to help with catering for the club’s annual rally, Mr Maxwell said.

“Peter and Mary have been in town all their lives,” he said.

Mr Maxwell was vaguely aware of a dispute, “but nobody ever dreamt it would be so serious”.

Loddon Shire mayor Gavan Holt said everyone involved was well known in the community.

“I’m being told that this was a long-running neighbourhood dispute over matters occurring on land which has escalated far beyond where it should have gone,” he said.

Det Supt De Santo said the arrested man had several registered firearms that were recently inspected by police and were found to comply with regulations.

Logan resident Rosie Camilleri said it was a big shock.

“It’s a pretty quiet town here. Everyone gets along pretty well. It must’ve been something that was brewing for a while.”

The 63-year-old Wedderburn man arrested after the siege was charged with three counts of murder about 9pm (AEDT) on Thursday.

He was due to face an out-of-sessions hearing at Bendigo police station later in the evening.

About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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