Home' Greymouth Star : July 31st 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Monday, July 31, 2017
of the New Zealand Herald
he Galways’ next door
neighbour didn’t hear the
gunshots when Ada Valerie
killed her husband Patrick
It was a Friday when Ada, 48, pointed the
.2 2-calibre rifle at 54-year-old Patrick and
shot him twice in the head at their home in
The police were told at 6.35am and Ada
was charged with murder later in the day.
Within hours, she too was dead.
When she appeared in the Greymouth
Police Court on December 1, 1967, Ada
“sobbed quietly for much of the short
time she was in the court but was more
composed when the charge was read out,”
the Herald reported the next morning.
No pictures of the couple were published
and Ada’s name was at first suppressed.
The two presiding justices of the peace
remanded Ada to Sunnyside Psychiatric
Hospital near Christchurch.
She was driven by a constable and they
were accompanied by a woman appointed
as a temporary police matron, but they only
got as far as Otira Gorge, which ascends
steeply to Arthur’s Pass, when tragedy
The police car stopped to let another car
“Mrs Galway jumped from the car and
ran toward a high bluff,” the New Zealand
Herald reported, four days later, citing the
findings of an investigation made public by
the Police Commissioner G C Urquhart.
“The constable-driver raced after her and
grabbed for her but only got a hand to her
dress. Mrs Galway pulled away and plunged
over,” the paper said.
Ada died from serious head injuries in
the 60m fall. Her body was recovered
by Arthur’s Pass National Park rangers,
including chief ranger Peter Croft. They
took nearly two hours to climb down and
retrieve the body with climbing gear.
Later in the month a magistrate agreed
to a police request to withdraw the murder
charge, because of the tragic sequence of
events following Patrick’s death.
The following February, Greymouth
coroner Rupert Kay ruled that at the time
of her suicide, Ada was “of unsound mind ”.
After the shooting at the Galway home in
Morpeth Street, Ada had gone to her friend
Molly Green’s house about 100m away on
Stewart Street, which is State highway 6,
the Coast Road, Ada’s next door neighbour,
Margaret Quy, 79, who now lives in
“Charlie Green came and got my husband
Allan to go over to the Galways’ and have a
look,” Mrs Q uy said last week.
She said she did not hear the gunshots.
“I had three babies all screaming for
breakfast and a husband to get out the door
by 6.30 to work. I never heard a thing. My
man got out of bed and turned the radio
She said Ada had a difficult time with her
“I loved her and she loved my kids. She
was a great lady and she didn’t deser ve a bit
of what she got.
“He (Patrick) didn’t like us at all. My
husband was a big man. I heard them
fighting outside one day. My husband was
up on the fence on one side and he was on
the other side. My husband was threatening
him with a hammer; I got him (Allan)
The Galways had no children and Patrick
was unemployed. However, he was well
known in nearby Runanga, where he had
been foreman of the borough council’s
works staff. He later worked for the
Ministry of Works and the Grey County
A 1936 photo shows him among workers
at the goldmine in Waiuta.
The couple’s house was described as
a “modest stucco bungalow at the end
of Morpeth Street, a short and narrow
thoroughfare which ends at a railway siding
150 yards from the house. Apart from
one other house on the seaward side, it is
The current owners of the house are Rose
and Peter Ewen. Peter is an elected member
of the West Coast Regional Council, a
Greymouth Star journalist and the author
of books on the Strongman and Pike River
They raised their four children at the
house. Peter Ewen is well aware of its
history, but said it had never really bothered
“Rose and I have been in the house since
we married in December 1976, rented it for
about a year and bought it off the owner
when he offered it to us. We jumped at it
— and 40 years on we’re still there and still
together . . . and there’s been no visits from
ghosts — touch wood.
“. . . One time I was knocking walls down
inside and changing doors. I was swinging
away knocking timber off and architraves,
and on the back of the door jamb was
written ‘Paddy Galway, Rapahoe’. The
joinery factory in town must have put it
there when made.
“The thing fell right in front of Rose’s eyes
as she was holding it up for me, while I was
doing the banging. On seeing the name, she
ran like (Usain) Bolt outside — haaa, that ’s
the only time she’s ever got the wind up.”
Patrick and Ada were buried together at a
cemetery in Nelson.
PICTURE: Greymouth Star
The Galways’ home in Morpeth Street, Rapahoe.
Patrick Galway, fourth from left, at the mine in Waiuta, in 1936.
PICTURE: Nelson Weekly
Patrick and Ada Galway were buried together in Nelson.
1967 family slaying ends in fatal leap off Otira Gorge
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