‘Fear of the unknown’ led to Queensland cop slayings, daughter claims

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Madelyn Train, the daughter of Nathaniel and Stacey Train, is processing the death of her parents and the crime they committed at a rural property three hours west of Brisbane.

The 26-year-old’s parents, alongside her step-father Gareth, who was also her uncle, ambushed and killed Constables Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow as well as neighbour Alan Dare at the Wieambilla property in December 2022.

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Nathaniel and Gareth Train and Gareth’s partner Stacey Train executed three innocenet (9News)

Constable Randall Kirk and Constable Keely Brough escaped the siege.

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But one month on from the attack, more questions than answers remain about how a welfare check turned into a deadly and horrifying ambush.

Nine reporter Sophie Walsh sat down in an exclusive one-on-one with Madelyn Train.

You can watch part two of the interview at 6pm on Channel 9 tomorrow.

Madelyn Train, Queensland cop killings, Wieambilla.
Madelyn Train sits down with Nine reporter Sophie Walsh. (9News)

Nathaniel Train married Stacey in 1995 in Toowoomba and later had children, Madelyn and her sibling Aidan.

Stacey and Nathaniel “amicably” divorced when Madelyn was three.

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Stacey would go on to marry Nathaniel’s brother Gareth, or Gary as Madelyn refers to him, a few years later.

Madelyn Train. Wieambilla Shooting. Queensland.
Family photo of the Trains. (9News)

Despite the unorthodox upbringing, Madelyn said she grew up in a “really happy, healthy family environment”.

“Gary always helped us, he was always like our dad,” she said.

Madelyn believes her mum falling in love with her uncle was only “abnormal” for outsiders but in the end, they were her parents.

The family tree for Nathaniel, Gareth, Stacey and Madelyn Train.
The family tree for Nathaniel, Gareth, Stacey and Madelyn Train. (9News)

“The only reason it was unusual is literally people’s interpretation of it, because I think anyone can have a relationship with anyone,” she said.

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“So yes, abnormal, but not for me. I always thought of them all as my parents and not as anything other than my parents.”

The Train brother’s father has previously alleged Gareth was violent towards Stacey but Madelyn said she never saw this while growing up.

Madelyn Train. Wieambilla Shooting. Queensland.
Madelyn and her mum Stacey. (9News)

“The whole time I lived with Gary (he) was never violent.”

“They were the gentlest people I know.”

The question now lies in how a happy childhood spiralled into a violent siege 20 years later.

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Gareth had always been somewhat subscribed to conspiracy theories but after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he became increasingly paranoid and was certain the government was spying on him and his family.

“It’s like he was doing this weird project on COVID-19 and the end of the world, but also religiously, he believes in the apocalypse,” Madelyn said.

“If anything he probably consumed one article, went down a rabbit hole of the internet where he was consuming one thing on YouTube and it just spiralled. The algorithm fed whatever energy was there.”

Madelyn Train, Queensland cop killings, Wieambilla.
Train said Gareth regularly sent obscure articles about conspiracy theories. (9News)
In the aftermath of the shooting, Gareth’s anti-authoritarian views were dredged up from various writings scattered online: From the false conspiracy theory that the 1996 Port Arthur massacre was an inside job, to drones owned by the state tracking us from above, and Australia being at the “forefront of a Luciferian agenda”.

But even with Gareth’s devolving conspiracy theories plastered online and questioning emails sent to his stepdaughter containing articles with what he believed was the truth, Madelyn never thought it was that serious.

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Gareth Train’s disillusioned conspiracy theories came to light after the shooting. (A Current Affair)

“Gary always joked so whenever I read anything that was a bit obscure I would think no I don’t think Gary’s being serious but if I was ever concerned I’d say, ‘hey I don’t think that’s quite right’, and I send another article so they had something positive to read,” she said.

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Madelyn said her mum was also sucked into the conspiracy vortex after she lost her job as Head of Curriculum at Tara State School when she refused the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nathaniel had been a school principal at Walgett Community College Primary School in NSW, where he lived with his second wife.

Nathaniel Train. Wieambilla shooting.
Nathaniel Train quit his job as principal after having a heart attack. (9News)

After suffering a heart attack that impacted his short-term memory, he lost his way.

He resigned from his job and moved to the Wieambilla region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nathaniel dropped off the grid and was last seen by his family in December 2021, a year before his wife reported him missing.

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On December 12 at around 5.30pm, an hour after the officers were shot, Gareth sent Madelyn a text message.

“Vanessa (his brother’s wife) sent people to kill us,” it read.

Madelyn Train. Wieambilla Shooting. Queensland.
The text message Gareth sent Madelyn on December 12. (9News)

Four hours later, the trio were taken out by specialist police officers in a bloody battle.

“My dad and Nathaniel, they were out the front and both shot dead and then mum was trying to get out the back, it said she was armed but mum didn’t like guns so I don’t know what she was armed with,” Madelyn said.

“But the police said it was a gun so I trust the police.

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“She didn’t make it through the back door, she died right by the back door.”

Madelyn knew her family had a gun safe and gun licences but didn’t know Gareth and Stacey had firearms.

She claims Nathaniel had guns but had no idea Gareth also owned them.

Madelyn also believes Gareth thought he was under siege and part of a bloody battle that day

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Gareth had wanted to join the military and on the day police showed up at his doorstep, he would have believed it was the enemy crossing the battle lines.

“Gary would often think as if he was in a military scenario. Because he wanted to join the military himself. He’d read lots of military books,” she said.

She denies claims they were on ice.

Gates of Wieambilla property where two Queensland police officers were shot.
Three innocent people, including two police officers, were killed at the Wieambilla property. (Queensland Police Union)

When asked what she thinks led to the fateful events on the day, Madelyn had one theory.

“I’d say they were influenced by fear of the unknown and them not understanding,” she said.

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Madelyn may be mourning her family but she is also must processing the horrific crime they committed that day.

“I mourned six people so I mourned my family, I mourned the police officers and I mourned the neighbour,” she said.

“I developed acute traumatic stress disorder from it because grieving three of your family members is hard enough but then finding out what they did, and then seeing everyone’s reaction to what they did.”

Madelyn Train, Queensland cop killings, Wieambilla.
Madelyn grieves her family members and the people they killed. (9News)

She went from living a normal life to being thrust into the spotlight as her family name is now welded to a brutal crime.

The 26-year-old has returned to the bullet-ridden Wieambilla property twice, including once with homicide detectives, to collect sentimental items.

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“Mum always wore a specific perfume on Christmas and she had one for work too so I got that,” she said.

“I got the wedding dress she wore when she married Garry and our family photos they had in a box.”

Madelyn Train. Wieambilla shooting. Queensland.
Madelyn doesn’t want to change her name as she says she has done nothing wrong. (9News)

But Madelyn has no plans to shy away from her identity or the name she shares with those dubbed the Queensland cop killers.

“I love my name, and as difficult as it is now I think changing your name is like keeping a secret,” she said.

“My name is not a secret. I’ve never done anything wrong.”

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