Megan Kirley, 40, was shot dead at semi-rural property south of Brisbane.
Megan Kirley, 40, was shot dead at semi-rural property south of Brisbane.

Partner opens up in murder mystery

Two alleged gunmen ... a frantic call just after 3am... the body of a doting mother... a killer walking free...

The shooting death of 40-year-old Megan Kirley south of Brisbane is wrapped in mystery.

When the operator answered the triple-0 call at 3.16am on February 9, the panicked voice of partner Peter Pickering soundeed across the line.

His "Megs" had been shot and was dying. When help arrived it was too late. Megan Kirley was dead from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Mr Pickering has told The Courier-Mail that two men tried to force their way into the couple's home - a converted shipping container. He tried to fend off the attacker with a pair of nunchukkas, he said.

"Immediately after I hit the door the shot fired," Mr Pickering siad.

"I shook it off and ran out after the people.

"I yelled to Megs twice to help me ID the cars. When no there was no answer I ran back to the container(bedroom) to find her slumped on the bed.

"I lifted her head into my lap and begged for some response there was none.

"I immediately rang triple-0 and started CPR."

Megan Kirley, 40, was shot dead at a semi-rural property south of Brisbane.
Megan Kirley, 40, was shot dead at a semi-rural property south of Brisbane.

THE VICTIM

Life was often tough for Ms Kirley, but friends say no matter what, she always lived it to the fullest.

Her zest for life meant fast motorbikes, horses and her beloved dog Girly. But nothing compared to her love for her two young boys.

"She absolutely idolised those boys," friend Kimberley Neilsen told The Courier-Mail.

The two women met while working at Logan City Council. Ms Kirley had split with the father of her children and was struggling, but she would still give you the shirt off her back.

"Whenever I had troubles... she opened her house to me, my kids, the whole lot. That's just the type of person she was," Ms Neilsen said.

Her old boss at the council, Scott Keys, described Ms Kirley as a dream employee.

"She was our first outdoor female employee with road construction maintenance," he said.

"She was a good worker, got along well with everyone, very happy-go-lucky.

"She was sort of the perfect employee which is hard to get."

News of her death shocked colleagues as it spread around the council depot. .

"Everyone was basically expressing disbelief that it was Megs. I just hope they find the perpetrator and he's dealt with," Mr Keys said.

Friend April Emily, who said Ms Kirley had a "rare quality of selflessness", echoed Mr Keys's sentiment.

"It's scary to think someone can just shoot a woman in the head and be among the community, with what appears to be no remorse," she said.

''We need to know what happened.

"Her family and friends deserve closure and Megan's legacy deserves justice."

 

 

Police guard the crime scene at Karawatha. Picture: Channel 7
Police guard the crime scene at Karawatha. Picture: Channel 7

 

 

THE CRIME SCENE

Surrounded by bushland and Karawatha State Forest, 411 Wembley Rd is the perfect place to conceal a crime.

There are sheds turned into living quarters, old cars and scrub. It's an eerie place.

Adding to the sense of isolation is a dead-end street on one side and an arterial road where no one stops on the other.

It's here that Ms Kirley was gunned down. She had been staying there on and off for about six months, with Mr Pickering who lives there.

The property's size and landscape has seen it become a locked-down crime scene for nearly a week - a long time by forensics standards.

Since Saturday, police have been standing guard at the entrance asking for the identification of anyone, including reporters, who venture nearby.

For days, SES volunteers have been doing line-by-line searches in the hope of uncovering crucial evidence.

On Wednesday, the search was called off when temperatures hit the high 30s.

The search continued on Thursday, but police remained tight-lipped about what was found.

 

 

Megan Kirley’s partner Pieter Pickering performed a walk-through of the scene with detectives.
Megan Kirley’s partner Pieter Pickering performed a walk-through of the scene with detectives.


THE PARTNER

By his own admission, Pieter Pickering is no angel, especially when it comes to women.

Six months ago he made a confession while posting to an anti-domestic-violence campaign to Facebook called "Real men don't hit women".

"Publicly will admit to failing this, am doing DV classes, seeing a councillor/shrink to rid of past demons," he wrote.

About the same time he started seeing Ms Kirley, and said he even planned to propose on Valentine's Day - sadly she was killed five days earlier.

"I love her so much we had so many plans… so, with a lot of hard work, we could sit back and enjoy our future together," he told The Courier-Mail.

"Now it seems they're mere shattered dreams."

The 43-year-old was initially taken into custody and then released without charge, but "continues to assist" police.

Last week Mr Pickering performed a three-hour walk-through with detectives at the crime scene.

"Hopefully they find something that brings Meg's murderers to a harsh justice," he said.

"It won't bring her back, I know, but shed light on why the animal has done this.

"We didn't have much and didn't do anything to anyone.

"All we had was each other 'n' Girly."

Police at the scene of the shooting. Picture: Channel 7
Police at the scene of the shooting. Picture: Channel 7


THE INVESTIGATION

Without a murder weapon or independent witnesses, detectives have a tough task ahead..

Working around the clock, investigators have been examining a huge amount of CCTV footage covering parts of Wembley Rd.

They are looking to corroborate Mr Pickering's version of events, that others came to the property, and to locate potential suspects.

They want any motorists travelling the road between 2.45am and 3.20am last Saturday to come forward so they can be eliminated from the probe.

The property has been crawling with forensic officers looking for evidence.

SES crews deployed to comb the area have been using metal detectors in their hunt for items of interest.

Acacia Ridge CIB, with the assistance of the Homicide Squad, have been interviewing friends, family and residents.

Neighbours reported hearing two gunshots several hours before the triple-0 call, but police believe only one was fired.

However they are yet to determine the exact time of death. Detective Inspector Craig Morrow said police had yet to establish a motive.

"There's a number of things that have been said. We're looking at all those aspects through our investigation," he said.