West Auckland fatal ram attack: Ram was not owned by couple, Alfred Helge Hansen and Gaye Carole Hansen, killed in Waitākere

The ram who killed an elderly couple on a West Auckland property was owned by neighbors and had broken through an electric fence before the attack, according to a local resident.

However, it is still not clear if the ram was being married in a paddock on the couple’s land or was being kept on a completely separate property when he escaped.

A neighbor, who didn’t want to be named but was not the owner of the ram, said the community along Anzac Valley Rd, Waitākere, had been in a “grey” mood since the deaths of Alfred Helge Hansen and Gaye Carole Hansen April 18.

“It’s not a very nice feeling, it’s just horrible even walking up here,” the neighbor said.

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“Everything’s gloomy and gray and just depressing and I just don’t want to do anything, you just don’t even want to go outside that side [where the couple was found].”

She said the Waitākere couple did not own the ram that attacked them and it had “escaped” from a nearby paddock through an electric fence.

“We keep thinking, why didn’t we hear anything? All I can see is the body. . . I saw them [police] “shoot the ram.”

She described the tense stand-off between police and the ram before it was fatally shot.

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“He was wild, he was aggressive, the way he was standing there looking at the cops, they weren’t coming through the fence.”

Alfred Helge Hansen and Gaye Carole Hansen. Photo/File

She said when rams are raised by humans they are not scared of people and will confront them.

“It was a hand-reared ram, and that’s what needs to get out there, people should not have hand-reared rams because they will turn around a few years later.

“We’ve had hand-reared rams and [my] husband has gone out in the paddock with the frying pan because it’s started attacking him.

“They’ve got concrete heads. . . “They don’t feel anything.”

She said the couple weren’t expecting the ram to be on their property, so they wouldn’t have known they were in danger.

“It’s sickening. They were lovely people just enjoying their retirement. “They were in their 80s, they had bad knees, they had no time to get away.”

However, Stuff reported that Helge’s ex-wife Jan Hansen said the ram wasn’t a stranger to the property and had lived there for some time.

Police at the Anzac Valley Rd property in West Auckland after the couple were killed by a ram. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Police confirmed on Thursday that a “ram was in the paddock at the time we were notified of the deaths at 7.30am today.”

The ram also went after the couple’s son, who held the beast in a headlock and called for help.

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“Another party at the scene suffered a minor injury after being attacked by this ram,” police said.

Animal behavior consultant Mark Vette said that ironically, hand-reared or pet rams can also be more dangerous.

While a “paddock” ram may steer clear of humans due to its desire to stick with the flock, a pet ram is more used to being in close contact with humans, Vette said.

When that familiarity with humans mixes with a natural desire to mate and compete during the breeding season, some rams can be more prone to charge.

“They’re a powerful animal and they can be quite a heavy animal,” Vette said.

Jaime Lyth is a multimedia journalist for the New Zealand Heraldfocusing on crime and breaking news.

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