1493352691403 - Shot woman Verity McLean daughter of former All Black

Shot woman Verity McLean daughter of former All Black

The woman allegedly shot and killed by her husband, policeman Ben McLean, was the daughter of a former All Black.

Southland woman Verity McLean, nee Barber, died on Tuesday.

McLean, who has been a police officer since 2007, has been charged with her murder and the attempted murder of Garry William Duggan.

Verity McLean’s father is former All Black Robert John Barber, known as Bob.

An article on the All Blacks website says Barber, All Black number 736, was a “vigorous all purpose forward” who had “ill luck with injuries”. 

He did not play any tests for the team, but was selected for the All Blacks tour of Australia and Fiji in 1972. He played six matches in the tour.

He also represented North Otago, Canterbury and Southland.

Barber played as a No 8 for New Zealand Maori in two internationals against Fiji in 1974 and was made one of the five players of the year by the Rugby Almanac. He also appeared in two All Black trials late in 1974 to pick the team to tour Ireland for that union’s centenary. But he did not make the side.

He received another All Black trial in 1975 and reappeared for the Maoris against Samoa in 1976. But injuries were taking their toll and he never made the All Blacks again.

His final season was in 1978 when he was aged 33. All of his 10 appearances for Southland that year were as a lock.

A private funeral service for Verity McLean will be held in Invercargill next week.

The family are considering a further memorial service at some point in the future to celebrate Verity’s life, which may include the community.  However no date has been set at this time. 

The police investigation into the events of Tuesday night will continue over the weekend, including ongoing scene examinations, forensic analysis and witness interviews.

Southern District commander Superintendent Paul Basham said police have been particularly touched this week by the reaction of the community:

“I would like to express my deep appreciation for the support shown to Invercargill police both from the local community and beyond.  This means so much to our staff.  We are acutely aware of the impact an event like this has across the community, of which we are a part. It is at times like this that our community really shows its strength.

“Our focus in the coming days will be to continue supporting all the families impacted by this tragedy, ensuring a meticulous, impartial investigation continues, and supporting our own staff who have been affected.” Basham said.

Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that Ben McLean and Duggan were good friends who once worked together at the Tiwai aluminium smelter.

A New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited spokeswoman confirmed on Friday that Duggan was a current employee and that McLean used to work at the smelters. According to the company’s newsletter, the Tiwai Pointer, McLean started working at the smelters in 2014. His position was operator, line services.

The following year he completed a seven-day recruit firefighters course and joined the Tiwai Brigade. 

“Our thoughts are with all of the families impacted by this tragedy and our employees are being supported during this difficult time,” the spokeswoman said.

She declined to comment further.

McLean also previously worked for the Southland District Council as a GIS analyst until 2007.

At a bedside court hearing in Southland Hospital on Wednesday, Ben McLean was charged with Verity McLean’s murder and the attempted murder of Duggan. He was remanded in custody to May 18.

Garry Duggan allegedly fought and disarmed his policeman friend after he and a woman were shot.  

Several sources have confirmed there was a struggle after Constable Ben McLean allegedly murdered his wife, Verity Ann McLean (nee Barber), 40, and fired at Duggan in Invercargill on Tuesday night. 

Duggan – a truck driver in his late 40s and described as “a great guy” – wrested the rifle from McLean, Stuff understands.  

About 40 minutes later, police alleged Ben McLean went to the Invercargill Police Station and “handed himself in”. A firearm was recovered at the shooting scene. 

Verity McLean, whose nickname is “Bert”, was living with Duggan at the industrial site on Otepuni Ave, in the suburb of Newfield, at the time. 

She and Ben McLean recently split, according to a family friend. 

Ben McLean and Duggan are both in stable conditions in hospital. 



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