Australian Protective Services Officer ( A.P.S. )
Australian Federal Police, 29 March 2003 – 22 December 2004
RAAF Reservist, 1995 –
Regd. # ?
Rank: PSO1 (Protective Services Officer )
Stations: Solomon Islands, 4 October 2004 – 22 December 2004
Service: From 29 March 2003 to 22 December 2004 = 1+ year Service
Service # ?
Next of kin: ?
Single / Married: ?
Returned to Australia: ?
Awards: Meritorious Unit Citation for work in East Timor.
Commendation for efforts in disarming a male carrying a replica pistol in Honiara Court.
Died on: Wednesday 22 December 2004
Cause: Shot – Murdered
whilst deployed on official duties at Honiara, Solomon Islands
Funeral date: Thursday 30 December 2004
Funeral location: ANZAC Memorial Chapel,
Royal Military College, Duntroon, ACT
Buried at: Cremated
Memorial: The main street of a new AFP training village in Canberra was named Adam Dunning Drive in his memory.
Tears for the fallen as Adam comes home
By Craig Skehan and Aban Contractor
December 24, 2004
They had slow-marched their comrade’s casket to the plane that would take him home.
Their backs were straight, but the emotions were too much: tears tumbled down the cheeks of the Australian Federal Police pallbearers as they did Adam Dunning this last honour.
Then, once his body was stowed in the hold of the RAAF jet on the tarmac in Honiara, his mates made a last gesture of solidarity with the colleague they were farewelling forever – forming a circle, heads bowed, arms locked around each other’s shoulders.
Adam Dunning, the 26-year-old AFP protective service officer who was killed by a sniper in the early hours of Wednesday morning, was accompanied home by the Minister for Justice, Chris Ellison, and the Opposition’s home affairs spokesman, Robert McClelland, but at Fairbairn air base in Canberra, where the RAAF 737 touched down just before 6pm, it was Mr Dunning’s family and friends – his parents, Michael and Christine, his sisters, Sarah and Emma, and his girlfriend, Elise Wiscombe – who formed the guard of honour.
Standing in two straight lines, they faced the plane.
With the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, standing watch nearby, Mr Dunning’s parents held their heads high, and his sisters and Ms Wiscombe quietly sobbed as eight AFP pallbearers bore his flag-draped casket from the plane. His parents held hands and seemed to stand even straighter as their only son was placed in the hearse that would take him to the mortuary.
In the Solomons, police are questioning a taxi driver about several suspects in the murder. A Solomon Islands police source told the Herald that the taxi – seen near the murder scene with several passengers before the shooting – had been seized.
On a narrow, potholed road on the outskirts of the Solomons capital, Honiara, locals offered heartfelt apologies for the shooting.
“I am so very sorry,” said one young man. “He came here to help us.”
By the roadside at Zion Junction, investigating officers had cut the long grass to help search for clues to the identity of the person who, in darkness shortly after 3am on Wednesday, shot Mr Dunning while he was on patrol in a Toyota Land Cruiser.
Zion Junction does not have a particularly dangerous reputation. Rather, locals said, other settlements further along the same ridge were known for trouble, ranging from extortion to payback shootings.
Moffat Suiga, a community elder who was awakened by the shots that killed Mr Dunning, said he and others were at a loss to explain the murder.
A middle-aged businessman said the overwhelming majority of Solomon Islanders wanted to see those responsible put in jail. He said it would be a good thing if the Australian-led intervention force remained for the next 40 years.
At a commemoration service earlier in Honiara, Mr Keelty said Mr Dunning had “died for peace”.
The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, said the young man had been helping the country overcome ethnic strife and crime. “We will not forget him,” he said.
A police funeral will be held for Mr Dunning on a day to be announced.
Offenders: John Hen OME, 31 & James TATAU, 29
Location of Murder:
Family, friends, colleagues farewell peacekeeper
December 31, 2004
They stood side by side. Two long lines of blue uniforms facing each other along the tree-lined road. Like a slow Mexican wave, each snapped to attention and saluted as the body of one of their own passed by.
Adam Dunning, murdered by a sniper while on patrol in the Solomons early last week, had begun the last leg of his journey home.
Earlier, these men and women of the Australian Federal Police and the Royal Australian Air Force had wept openly as Mr Dunning was farewelled with full police and military honours in the Duntroon chapel. “He was a great man,” said his federal police mate Pat Castle.
The nation’s military chiefs turned out to pay tribute, as did Prime Minister John Howard, Governor-General Michael Jeffery and senior cabinet ministers.
But this ritual belonged to those who knew and loved Adam Dunning.
His mother, Christine, read from a tribute that she and her husband, Mike, had written to their son in February. They had praised his courage, sensitivity and mettle.
His partner, Elise, who had brought red roses for the man she had loved, said he was her greatest friend. “He was my strength, my inspiration, my love.”
Peacekeeper Beau Tennant, who was with Mr Dunning the night before he died, broke down as he recalled his friend’s generosity.
“Before he left me, his last words were: ‘Are you right for money mate?’ That was the kind of bloke he was,” he said.
Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said Mr Dunning would live on in the memories of grateful Solomon Islanders.
“Adam Dunning died for peace and law and order. His work and his death will always be remembered by his colleagues,” he told mourners.
The federal police hope to build a memorial to Mr Dunning at their new training centre for overseas police peacekeepers.
Mr Dunning also served with RAAF in Timor before joining the AFP.
Police believe his murder and another attack on police on October 21 were carried out by three former members of the Malaitan Eagle Force militia.
They have charged two men – John Ome and Philip Kwaimani – over the attacks and are hunting James Tatau, who Mr Keelty said was present at both events and had access to a cache of weapons.
Police believe the trio were working on their own, with no sign of any broader uprising against the peacekeeping effort.
It fell to Emma, who had adored her older brother, to claim his service medals and caps from the flag-shrouded coffin and hand them to her grieving parents.
As his police mates carried Mr Dunning’s coffin from the chapel into the sunlight, drummers and bagpipers ushered him on his way. A police motorcade led the cortege through Canberra’s streets to a private service and cremation.
Body of sniper victim arrives in Canberra
A plane carrying the body of murdered Australian peacekeeper Adam Dunning has landed in his home town of Canberra.
The 26-year-old Australian Protective Services officer was shot twice in the back by a sniper while serving as part of a peacekeeping mission in the Solomon Islands yesterday morning.
Members of Mr Dunning’s family, and his colleagues were on hand to formally receive his body.
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty returned from the Solomon Islands about half an hour before the plane bearing Officer Dunning’s body landed.
He was among those waiting for Justice Minister Chris Ellison and Labor’s homeland security spokesman Robert McClelland, who accompanied the body on the flight back to Canberra.
Commissioner Keelty, Senator Ellison, Mr McClelland and AFP officers formed a guard of honour before the coffin was removed from the plane.
Family members, including Officer Dunning’s parents Mike and Christine, and girlfriend Elise Wiscombe, stood arm in arm watching proceedings.
A guard of honour, carrying Officer Dunning’s hat, led the flag-draped coffin to the hearse.
Eight pall bearers stood tall under the weight, as Officer Dunning’s police colleagues watched on.
A cavalcade of AFP motorcycles is waiting to lead the hearse to Canberra’s mortuary.
A full police funeral will be held for Officer Dunning on a day to be announced.
Officer Dunning’s parents took the time to thank those who attended the short ceremony before the hearse headed for Kingston mortuary under police escort.
Senator Ellison later said the Solomons people were behind RAMSI and Australia’s efforts to bring law and order to the country.
He said some adjustments might be made to the conduct of night patrols but any final decision would depend on recommendations from the AFP.
He denied the Government had too quickly reduced the AFP’s military support in the Solomons.
“We’ve made fantastic progress in the Solomons and we never underestimated the danger that our people faced,” he told ABC television
More troops sent in as peacekeeper slain
December 23, 2004
Australia is rushing 100 extra troops to the Solomon Islands in defiant reaction to the sniper murder of Adam Dunning, the nation’s first peacekeeper to be killed by hostile fire.
The murder highlights the perils of the new interventionist role in the Pacific islands, but the Prime Minister, John Howard, vowed the mission to the Solomons would go on “undeterred, unrestrained, unaffected by what’s happened”.
“We won’t be cowed by this,” the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, added.
Mr Dunning, a 26-year-old Australian Protective Service officer from Canberra who had dodged bullets while serving in East Timor, was shot twice in the back while on a patrol in a four-wheel drives Toyota Land Cruiser in the capital, Honiara, at 3.10am on Wednesday. The bullets were among six shots fired rapidly from a high-powered military rifle.
“It looks as though the person who fired it had training in the use of such firearms,” a Solomon Islands official said.
Members of former ethnic militias – who had formed gangs and reduced the country to anarchy – are now being questioned. Australian investigators say the involvement of former Solomon Islands police officers, or an individual officer, cannot be ruled out.
At his Canberra home, Mr Dunning’s father, Michael, was distraught as he spoke of his son’s honourable death.
“It is sad as he cared for the [Solomons] people so much and was doing something really good on their behalf,” Mr Dunning told the Herald. “He always has been a decent person, tough and soft-hearted at the same time. He was totally honourable and very stubborn – nobody could make him do anything that he did not think was right. He was a credit to us.”
Adam Dunning had been planning a future with his 22-year-old girlfriend, Elise Wiscombe, on his return home next month. “I’m very, very proud of what he’s done over there,” she said. “He’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever met.”
Mr Dunning was part of the regional intervention force which has been seeking to stem ethnic and criminal violence in the Solomons since July last year.
A rapid-response, 100-member infantry company from the First Royal Australian Regiment was to leave Townsville on Thursday for the Solomons, just a day after the murder. The Defence Minister, Robert Hill, said: “This is to send a clear message to the thugs … that we will not tolerate the murder of our police officers.”
A meeting of departmental secretaries in Canberra recommended extra forces to support the 160 defence force personnel already there. Those troops are backing the 147 Australian Federal Police members who are serving in the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) – about 95 of them from the Australian Protective Service, which comes under the federal police. The Justice Minister, Chris Ellison, and the Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, flew to Honiara on Wednesday night. Australian forensic experts also flew in.
Mr Keelty said: “Over 4000 arrests have been made and over 3700 weapons have been seized [since the intervention began]. Clearly this indicates that there are some in the community in the Solomon Islands who are not happy about RAMSI’s presence.”
He said the hot tropical climate – and the large number of weapons already recovered – were among the reasons body armour had not been used for regular patrols. However, this is now under review.
Mr Keelty called Mr Dunning “a brave and courageous young Australian” and said his killing emphasised “the danger that our people face”.
The Solomons Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, described the killing as barbaric and cowardly.
Mr Dunning’s partner on patrol, who had been driving, tried to resuscitate him.
The murder scene, on the outskirts of Honiara, was close to two settlements which are known to be frequented by former ethnic militiaman who formed criminal gangs.
The Australian police contingent has been at the forefront of efforts to clean up local police and officers have been charged with offences from corruption to assault and robbery. A number of local politicians are either under investigation or already facing various charges.
Mr Keelty said the ammunition used indicated the murder weapon was an SLR or possibly an AK-47. This was consistent with some of the weapons used before the arrival of the intervention force. The looting of many SLRs and other military-style weapons from Solomons police armouries had fuelled the five years of unrest that prompted the intervention of the Australian-led force.
There was a major riot at the Central Prison in Honiara this year, when inmates threw rocks at Australian personnel and painted anti-Australian slogans. Two months ago, an intervention force vehicle patrol was fired on.
Protective Service Officers were deployed along with other Australian law enforcement officers in the Solomon Islands as part of RAMSI. The peacekeeping force suffered their first casualty on 22 December 2004 when PSO1 Adam Dunning was shot and killed while deployed on official duties in the Solomon Islands. Two former members of a local militia were charged but acquitted of Dunning’s murder. Officer Dunning was buried with full police honours.
The main street of a new AFP training village in Canberra was named Adam Dunning Drive in his memory. The $2.8 million training facility at Mount Majura just outside Canberra, has been designed to replicate situations in regional countries to which personnel might be assigned.
Dunning remembered in training complex
The main street of a new training village for Australian Federal Police and other personnel being sent overseas has been named after murdered peacekeeper Adam Dunning.
The $2.8 million training facility at Majura, just outside Canberra, has been designed to replicate situations in regional countries to which personnel might be assigned.
Prime Minister John Howard officially opened the facility on Thursday in the presence of police chiefs from across the country as well as from several regional nations.
Australian Protective Service officer Mr Dunning, 26, was fatally shot twice in the back while on night patrol in the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara in December.
He was serving as part of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomons.
His parents attended the opening of the village, through the centre of which runs a road now named Adam Dunning Drive.
“The loss of Adam Dunning signified that this is very dangerous work,” Justice Minister Senator Chris Ellison said.
Mr Howard said the new facility reflected the new security reality for Australia and its region.
“Events of the last five years have totally transformed both the demands and the expectations of the Australian community on the Australian Federal Police,” he told the gathering.
“In that five-year period we have seen the threatening arrival of international terrorism.
“We’ve (also) seen the emergence of an ongoing need on the part of this country, in cooperation with our friends in the Pacific region, to involve ourselves in the restoration of conditions of law and order and cooperation with police services and governments of those countries.”
The training village, to be used by a range of emergency services personnel as well as police, recreates the environment that police experience when on overseas missions.
Designed to reflect the streetscape of a small overseas township, it enables true-to-life scenario training which helps to prepare police for unknown and sometimes dangerous challenges.
It includes 18 buildings and structures including a corner store, a town hall, a police station, a school, a pub, a marketplace and even a cemetery, reflecting the fact that police are sometimes required to perform exhumations in the course of their work.
The spokesman said 124 personnel had already trained at the complex which was completed in March.