Millionaire named as murder-suicide victim

MILLIONAIRE businessman Phil Lunn has been shot dead in his home by the husband of an employee before the gunman turned the rifle on himself.

Edgeworth man Michael Cumins, 57, stormed the wealthy 64-year-old’s Fishing Point home shortly after 6am before shooting him with a .22 calibre rifle.

Susan Cumins, the wife of Michael Cumins and an employee for Mr Lunn’s international crane and heavy lifting company Lampson Australia, was already at the house when her husband arrived.

Mrs Cumins raised the alarm, telling an ambulance operator that her husband had shot someone. She was taken to John Hunter Hospital suffering severe shock, and was released late yesterday.

Click below to see footage of the scene and hear a press conference held yesterday morning.




Video by Darren Pateman

The apparent murder-suicide shocked the Lake Macquarie street where Mr Lunn had lived for more than 20 years.

Neighbours said he kept to himself, rarely speaking with other residents.

‘‘You could call him a bit of a recluse,’’ another neighbour said.

‘‘Even if you found a letter of his and dropped it in, he would happily take it and just turn on his heels.

‘‘He wasn’t interested in community chit-chat.’’

Another neighbour, Bethany Galinski, added: ‘‘The house was always really well kept but you never saw him.

‘‘And you never saw the blinds open.’’

Lampson Australia deals in cranes, heavy lifting and transport projects and has its Australian headquarters at Toronto.

Lampson managers spent most of the day in meetings and the company failed to return calls to the Newcastle Herald.

In 2003, Mr Lunn told the Herald that he started the company in 1990 and it had grown to a workforce of 100 and 112 cranes across Australia.

It is part of Lampson International, which has bases in United States and Canada.

Mr Lunn was also part of the Lunn family who took another Newcastle businessman, Les Savage, to court over a dispute on the ownership of an old coalmining company with valuable landholdings at Green Point, on the banks of Lake Macquarie.

Although careful not to confirm the murder-suicide, Lake Macquarie duty officer Chief Inspector Kim Sorensen said there were no other suspects.

‘‘I am confident that we have totally contained the situation, there is no one at large,’’ Chief Inspector Sorensen said.

‘‘Everyone who we need to account for has been accounted for.’’

Crime scene experts spent most of the day at the single-storey brick and tile house, which had an adjoining small granny flat and a pool out the back.

Mr Lunn’s Toyota Prado was parked in a carport.

A small four-wheel-drive and a red utility, believed to be the vehicle which Mr Cumins had arrived in, were also parked in the driveway and were scoured for clues by forensics.

Friends were comforting the Cumins’ children at the family home at Edgeworth.

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