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, allegedly shot his teenage son Noah last Thursday as he lay in bed at their family home in Yamba, on the NSW north coast.
A joint funeral for the couple will be held today, sparking anger from locals.
“Tomorrow a beautiful young boy will be buried with his father who killed him,” a Yamba resident wrote on social media.
“Many locals do not attend the funeral because they believe it should be kept separate.
“They hate that they can’t say goodbye to the son alone.”
The man said that while he respected the family’s decision, other members of the community planned to boycott the funeral because of the funeral arrangements.
Riverview Funeral Home and Crematorium’s funeral notice said it was a “tragic time” in local people’s lives.
“While this is a tragic time in our lives, we would like to invite the entire community to come together to celebrate the life of the beautiful Noah with his amazing zest for life and his father Wayne who loved his son dearly,” the post read.
Investigators found that Smith had his gun license and weapons taken away in August 2021, less than two years before the suspected murder-suicide.
Wayne Smith (left) and his son Noah (right) were found dead at their home in Yamba on June 1
Wayne Smith, 58, allegedly shot his teenage son Noah last Thursday as he lay in bed at their family home in Yamba, on the north coast of NSW (pictured is the funeral)
He admitted to struggling with his mental health – including suicidal thoughts – as he filed for a license renewal, the Daily telegram reports.
The firearms registry was concerned about Smith’s health and the father was told he would have to undergo an “independent mental health assessment” before his license could be reinstated.
Smith got his license back just over a year later in December 2022.
The experts involved in releasing the recovery are expected to be called before the coroner as the investigation continues.
According to police sources, Smith had no other “red flags” or criminal history.
However, his heartbroken elderly mother Glenda said the father had been through a few “very rough” years and she was often “worried” about him.
“It’s too damn hard. I just had the undertaker here for two hours… He was the most beautiful man on earth,” she said.
It is understood that Smith was undergoing psychiatric and psychological treatment at the time of the shooting.
A relative of Smith and Noah called the police to the family home on Thursday around 1:10 p.m. after making the gruesome discovery.
Well known in the community, Smith worked for the local Port Authority for 40 years as his family’s third generation employee at the small pilot station.
It is understood that Smith (left) shot his son (right) before turning the gun on himself in an apparent murder-suicide
Smith’s gun license was revoked in late 2021 after he admitted to suicidal thoughts (pictured, the family’s property at Kookaburra Court, Yamba, northern NSW)
In a 2013 interview, he said he always wanted to work in the port to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I’ve got salt in my veins, mate — I never thought about doing anything else, I’ve worked at the docks for 27 years,” he told Clarence Valley News 10 years ago.
‘Dad worked in the ports for 28 years. From memory he started at Ballina [once the second busiest port on the NSW coast] and from there, when it was closed, transferred to here.
“I grew up in the pilot house on top of the hill.
“I crossed 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 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 soccer player and avid cyclist – a hobby he shared with his mother
Photos posted to social media show the pair beaming with delight as they hold a huge three-foot-long fish in their front yard after a boat ride.
Like his father, Noah won prizes for fishing – he scored the encouragement prize in the Tim the Bream competition in 2017.
Noah was also successful on the sports field with his under 12 rugby union team winning their local grand final in September 2019.
The Yamba Buccaneers Rugby Club told Daily Mail Australia it was ‘devastated’ by Noah’s tragic passing and ‘our condolences are with 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 team that won the premiership in 2019,” the club said in a statement.
A reserved, quiet kid, Noah was well respected by 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 senior game on Saturday.”
Aside from football, Noah was an avid cyclist – a sport he loved to do with his mother.
Several photos posted online show the boy and his mother clad in lycra next to their bikes on rides together.
Noah’s rugby club described him as a ‘reserved, quiet kid’ who was known for always ‘having a crack’ (pictured, Noah next to his mum in 2018)
Smith’s mother said the ailing father had endured a few “very tough” years where she often “worryed” for him (pictured, forensics teams investigating the family home)
Coffs-Clarence Police District Superintendent Shane Cribb said the double fatality had rocked the small tight-knit community.
“I always think it’s more effective because everyone knows everyone else,” he told reporters.
‘I have police who know the family, I have children of police officers who actually went to the same school. If you talk about the effect this has as a whole, it affects a lot more people than we think.’
Superintendent Cribb said his priority was to ensure that the case was thoroughly investigated and that those affected by the tragedy were properly supported.
Lisa Flynn, who lives on the same street, said the community was shocked by the incident.
“My partner came home around 3pm and there were police everywhere,” Ms Flynn said.
“No one had heard anything—no shots fired, nothing.
‘You just wouldn’t expect it in this environment; there are many pensioners and single mothers here.’
She said she often saw the pair working together outside on Smith’s boat.
Police are still investigating the couple’s deaths, but do not believe anyone else was involved (pictured, the crime scene at the family home)
“It’s just unreal that it could happen so close to us,” she said.
“They had a good relationship with each other.
“I rarely saw the boy go to school, but I often saw them working on the father’s boat.”
Police do not believe anyone else was involved in the shooting while the investigation is ongoing.
Ms Flynn said that while the neighborhood is shocked by the deaths, they feel safer knowing police believe it was an isolated incident.
When contacted, the NSW Port Authority said: ‘This is a NSW Police matter and is currently under investigation.’
The company did not respond to questions about whether support measures were offered to employees.
A crime scene has been identified at the house, which will be examined forensically by specialized teams.
A full report is being prepared for the coroner.
For confidential crisis support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14