Anna Guy: The inside story
Sat, 29 Sep 2012 6:00a.m.
By 60 Minutes Producer Phill Prendeville
The remarkable thing about following the Scott Guy murder inquiry was not just the whodunit mystery that unfolded but also the amazing family that appeared in its wake.
As the details of the murder beamed across the nation, I was struck by the victim’s father Bryan Guy, standing at the gates of Scott’s house on the very spot his son had been gunned down.
He spoke calmly, with honesty and an extraordinary lightness of being.
Cold-calling murder victim’s families is not a part of the job I particularly enjoy, but ringing Bryan Guy was different.
There was no bitterness, no anger, and no ego. He was calm, welcoming and truly appreciative of the call.
Being a month after the murder and still with no arrest, he and the police had decided it would be helpful to keep the spotlight on the case and perhaps even prompt someone with information to come forward.
We arrived at the farm in Feilding and were welcomed with such warmth and generosity of spirit, it was sometimes easy to forget that this was a family in the midst of absolute tragedy. They made us lunch, told their stories and let us into their lives.
When Ewen Macdonald was arrested for the murder of his wife’s brother, Scott Guy, the family, along with everyone else in the nation, was naturally shocked.
Again Bryan and wife Jo fronted up and faced the press. Again they agreed to meet with 60 Minutes for their second interview with us.
They sat calmly holding each other’s hands. They were having trouble comprehending the news, but still they answered every question honestly, even to the point of expressing the love they had for Ewen.
If anger and resentment were brewing, it was not apparent.
We thought that Ewen Macdonald’s wife, Anna, Scott’s sister, would be the most shocked and grief-stricken. So it was with a fair degree of surprise when Bryan called after their interview to say that Anna had also agreed to speak with 60 Minutes.
She wanted to tell her story once and tell it well.
Anna then delivered one of the most direct and heartfelt interviews I have witnessed.
When asked if she believed Ewen had killed her brother, she was lost for words.
She had no explanations and was obviously in absolute turmoil trying to equate the Ewen that she knew, her husband and the father to their four children, with the man the police claimed had killed her brother. How was it possible, she asked?
Before the trial commenced I was convinced that Ewen Macdonald would be found guilty. The fact that the police investigation leading to his arrest had taken over a year and that sources had intimated that the evidence would be damning, led me to presume the case would be a slam dunk, a done deal.
Ewen Macdonald’s guilty plea in relation to the other offences of wilful damage and arson showed he had embarked upon a campaign of intimidation against Scott and Kylee.
Surely it wasn’t a big leap to think he had the motive and the mindset to commit murder.
I half expected that there would be no trial, that Ewen would change his plea to guilty. But after day one of the trial, I walked head-first into a bitter Wellington sou’ wester, believing that no jury would convict Ewen Macdonald.
Ewen’s lawyer, Greg King, whilst cross examining Simon Asplin, a worker on the family farm, had planted seeds of doubt in the minds of the jury by illuminating some deep resentment held by Asplin towards Scott Guy, his alibi was questionable and his demeanour, I observed was slightly off keel.
The prosecution seemed unprepared for the defence team’s move and, as would be the case on other occasions over the next four weeks, in my view, was found wanting.
When Anna took the stand, she lit up the usually dour and serious surrounds of Wellington’s High Court. She took the whole courtroom with her as she recounted the intimate details of her life and relationship with Ewen.
People in the public gallery cried when she cried, laughed when she laughed and listened intently when she spoke.
What was apparent was the honesty and fairness with which she answered the court - she had no agenda and no presumption of innocence… or guilt.
As the verdict was read to the court, Anna sat nestled under her father’s arm, telling us later that she thought she would throw up, her heart was beating so fast.
Kylee screamed “He killed my husband!” Ewen broke down in tears. And again the Guy family faced the media and, rather selflessly, thanked the nation for its support.
Anna had piqued the interest of the country, perhaps due to the peculiar situation she found herself in, having had her husband acquitted of her brother’s murder.
Or perhaps it was the rumours surrounding her personal life, or her natural beauty and personality. Whatever it was, everyone wanted to hear what she had to say.
It took weeks of talking before Anna felt the time was right to go public. The fact that some media began printing stories without her consent, made her realize that the interest in her story was not going to go away and by telling her story once to people she trusted would be the best way to move on.
Anna believes that by telling her story she will be allowed to close this chapter of her life.
She says she simply needs to tell it how it is. What others do with her truth is up to them. Anna’s only precondition to the interview was that she did not want to discuss other family members as she had no wish to upset them.
Apart from that, she wanted to put everything on the table. She wanted to tell the story of what happens to a normal life when it is thrown into chaos, despair and uncertainty, and how she navigated her way through it.
No subject was taboo and as the interview unfolded she spoke of the rumours swirling around the case, she delved into whether she believed her husband had killed her brother and how her husband could lead a secret life without her knowledge.
At times, reliving the emotions and memories was almost too much for her, but never once did she ask to stop. It was incredibly difficult but she wanted to get it all out.
Due to the intensity and the complicated nature of her story, it took us the best part of a week to complete and over that time we glimpsed a real insight into the many sides of Anna Guy: busy single mother of four, grieving sister, prison widow.
But above all she showed herself to be a big-hearted, funny, generous, happy, quirky woman, wanting the best for herself and her children and happy to face the world head on, taking its knocks on the chin and its blessings in her stride, comforted by the love and unconditional support of a truly amazing family.
I was impressed by Anna’s survival philosophy: forcing herself to laugh every day and hoping that one day it would again come naturally.
And although she regresses into tears as she recounts some of her story, her heart is on her sleeve and by being such an open book she is, it appears to me, purging herself of the massive black shadow that has hung over her.
She loves to sing and dance and with her kids by her side and the tunes belting out, she does a pretty good rendition of “the robot” that once seen on telly will no doubt start a dance sensation across the country.
She has the ability to laugh loudly at herself and even in the darkness of despair has the belief and faith that the world is intrinsically a good place and that, despite everything that has happened, she will love and trust again.
Anna confides that she has met a special person, but it is still early days and her children are her main focus and priority.
She may well move to Auckland over the summer and pursue a new career.
Whatever happens, Anna Guy will always be a part of this country’s history and I wouldn’t bet against her one day playing a big part in its future.
TV3's 60 Minutes will run Anna Guy's story on Sunday at 7:30pm
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1/10/2012 7:32:36 p.m.
Patricia Taylor wrote:
Your husband left 6 children without dads. I say move right away from him.
1/10/2012 6:15:24 p.m.
I agree with S she is vague and just doesnt want to have an opinion on what happened..how she has moved on so quickly to another relationship beats me and its not just in the last week either. I enjoyed kylees magazine article,she spoke honestly and so beautifully about Scott and her boys that says it all, thats whats important, good luck to Kylee,my message to you Anna get an opinion on all this you have had long enough!
1/10/2012 1:56:35 p.m.
She seems to be vague and distancing herself from Macdonald and the crimes committed.
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