A 15-year-old boy will be buried next to the man suspected of shooting him before turning the gun on himself in a shocking murder-suicide.
Wayne Smith, 58, is understood to have shot his teenage son Noah as he lay in bed at their family home in Yamba on NSW’s north coast last Thursday.
A joint funeral for the pair will be held today, sparking outrage from locals.
‘Tomorrow a beautiful young man will be buried with his father who killed him,’ one Yamba wrote on local social media.
‘Many local people are not attending funerals because they believe it should be segregated.
‘They hate that they can’t say goodbye to the boy alone.’
Locals said that while they respected the family’s decision, other community members planned to boycott the funeral over burial arrangements.
Investigators found that Smith had his gun license and weapons revoked in August, 2021, less than two years before the suspected murder-suicide.
He admitted to struggling with his mental health – including suicidal thoughts – when submitting for license renewal, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The Firearms Registry raised concerns about Smith’s health and the father was told he would have to undergo an ‘independent mental health assessment’ before his license could be restored.
He was given his license back in December 2022, more than a year later.
Wayne Smith (left) and his son Noah (right) were found dead in their Yamba home on June 1
Wayne Smith, 58, is understood to have shot his teenage son Noah as he lay in bed at their family home in Yamba on NSW’s north coast last Thursday (pictured funeral notice)
Experts involved in clearing the reinstatement are expected to be called before the coroner as the investigation continues.
Police sources said Smith had no other ‘red flags’ or criminal history.
However, his heartbroken elderly mother Glenda said dad had had a ‘very difficult’ time over the years and she often ‘worried’ about him.
‘It’s very difficult. I just buried the woman here for two hours… She was the most beautiful person in the world,’ he said.
It is understood Smith was undergoing psychiatric and psychiatric treatment at the time of the shooting.
A relative of Smith and Noah called police to the family’s home at 1.10pm on Thursday after the gruesome discovery.
Smith was well-known in the community as a third-generation employee of his family at the small pilot station, having worked at the local Port Authority for 40 years.
It is understood that Smith (left) shot his son (right) before turning the weapon on himself in an apparent murder-suicide.
Smith had his gun license revoked at the end of 2021 after admitting to suffering suicidal thoughts (pictured, family property at Kookaburra Court, Yamba, northern NSW).
In a 2013 interview, he said he always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and work at the port.
‘I’ve got salt in my veins, mate – I’ve never thought of doing anything different, I’ve been working at the port for 27 years,’ he told the Clarence Valley News 10 years ago.
‘Dad worked at the port for 28 years. From memory, he started in Ballina [once the second busiest port on the NSW coast] And from there it moves, when it closes, here.
‘I grew up in a pilot’s cottage in the mountains.
‘I passed the bar [at Ballina] When I was six months old, my son crossed the bar [at Yamba] When he was six weeks old – that’s the tradition.’
Smith was also an avid fisherman, winning the Yamba Lions Family Fishing Festival as part of the team in 2016 and bonding with Noah over the hobby.
Noah (above) was a talented footballer and keen cyclist – a hobby he shared with his mother.
Photos posted on social media show the pair beaming with joy as a giant metre-long fish is held in their front yard after a boat trip.
Like his father, Noah has won awards for his fishing – scoring the encouragement award in the 2017 Team the Bream competition.
Noah has also been successful in sport with his under 12 rugby team winning their local grand final in September, 2019.
Yamba Buccaneers rugby club told Daily Mail Australia it was ‘devastated’ by Noah’s tragic death and ‘our condolences go out to his family, friends and former teammates at this difficult time’.
“Noah found his sporting niche in rugby union and was a valuable member of our 2019 premiership-winning under-12 team,” the club said in a statement.
‘A reserved, quiet child, Noah was well-respected by the other players and his coaches and was known for always ‘having a crack’ and doing what he could for the team.
‘The club has offered support to those affected and will pay tribute to Noah at our junior games tonight and the seniors game on Saturday.’
Apart from football, Noah was a keen cyclist – a sport he enjoyed with his mother.
Several photos posted online show the boy and his mother riding together in lycra alongside their bikes.
Noah’s rugby club described him as a ‘reserved, quiet kid’ who was always known for ‘having a crack’ (pictured, Noah with his mum in 2018).
Smith’s mother said the grieving father had had a ‘very difficult’ time over the years which often left her ‘worried’ about him (pictured, forensic teams examining the family home).
Coffs-Clarence Police District Superintendent Shane Cribb said the double fatality had shaken the small tight-knit community.
“I always think it’s more influential because everybody knows everybody,” he told reporters.
‘I have police who know the family, I have children of police officers who actually went to the same school. When you talk about the impact, it affects a lot more people than we realize.’
Superintendent Cribb said his priority was to ensure the matter was thoroughly investigated and that those affected by the tragedy were well supported.
Lisa Flynn, who lives on the same street, said the community was shocked by the incident.
Mrs Flynn said: ‘My partner came home at around 3pm and there were police everywhere.
‘Nobody heard anything – no gunshots, nothing.
‘You just don’t expect it in this area; There are a lot of retired people and single mothers here.’
He said he often saw the pair working together outside on Smith’s boat.
Police are still investigating the couple’s death but do not believe anyone else was involved (pictured, crime scene at family home)
‘It’s just surreal it could happen so close to us,’ he said.
‘They had a good relationship with each other.
‘I hardly ever saw the boy go to school, but I saw them working on their father’s boat.’
While the investigation is ongoing, police do not believe anyone else was involved in the shooting.
Ms Flynn said although the neighborhood was horrified by the death, they felt safe knowing the police believed it was an isolated incident.
When contacted, the Ports Authority of NSW said: ‘This is a NSW Police matter and is currently under investigation.’
The corporation did not respond to queries on whether support measures are being provided to employees.
A crime scene has been established at the house, which will be forensically examined by a team of experts.
A fuller report will be prepared for Corona.
Contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential crisis support
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