Psycho with ‘killing blade’ obsessed with apocalypse
THE child predator who hacked into a detective twice with a "killing knife" before officers shot him dead on Australia Day was an unhinged doomsday survivalist obsessed with weapons.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal that Nick Newman, 33, constantly posted online about guns and knives, undertook weekend survivalist courses, and spent hours on internet apocalypse survival group Zombie Eradication Response Team (ZERT) when not taking to Facebook under a pseudonym with memes about insanity and warfare.
On Friday, as the Child Abuse Squad moved in on him for sex offences, Newman - a member of Facebook groups Australian Knife Sales and Australians for Better Self-Defence Laws - slashed his own throat with the combat blade he had used to fell Detective Sergeant John Breda at the Maroubra Junction Hotel.
A senior police source said he had "never seen anything like" Newman's thick, metal-handled weapon, which had a blade which folded into the grip.
"It was a killing knife," the source said of the weapon Newman brandished at the hotel beer garden. "I can't see what else you would use it for but to kill people."
It can also be revealed Newman listed his job as a "phreaker" - a phone or IT hacker - and was known to have links to Asian crime gangs.
Last year, he and two fellow survivalists formed the company Strategic Threat Solutions.
The business sells a bizarre assortment of military-style gear, including tactical vests, handcuffs, "hard knuckle tactical gloves" and a $425 Israeli combat knife. The company also lists a number of affiliates, including firearms training outfit "Spent Brass Training Solutions" and "Firearm Owners United".
A true believer, Newman is also understood to have undertaken multiple weekend survivalist courses and frequented gun stores in Sydney and Melbourne.
On Facebook, Newman also uploaded photos of bullets and rabid dogs - one with the logo INSANITY.
"The ZERT forums were a big part of Nick's life," one former business associate told The Daily Telegraph.
The source said he was shocked that Newman died in the way he did, given the business's claims it supplied equipment to military and law enforcement bodies.
"I heard Nick died, but never in my wildest dreams would have thought it would have been the result of him stabbing a member of the law enforcement community," he said. "The Nick I knew wanted to provide the best gear possible for military and law enforcement. This just seems so out of character from the person I knew."
In an online testimonial, Newman professed his love for the survivalist community and ZERT.
"At first I joined out of shits and giggles thinking that nothing would come of it. Now being one of the original 6 Sydney Team founders and meeting the blokes that I have, I have no regrets," he wrote, signing off with his member number QP16578.
"ZERT is a way of life for me now as it should be for all active members."
The Daily Telegraph understands that a family member of Newman's former partner made allegations of historic sexual assault against him at the start of the year. On Thursday, police charged him with six counts of rape and one count of indecent assault against an underage victim and one count of choking.
Police issued a warrant for Newman's arrest on Thursday. He also was due to appear at Penrith Local Court the previous day on separate charges relating to an AVO.
After the sexual assault accusations were made, Newman left his family at their Kareela Ave home in Penrith. While police initially issued a warning about a man in the Nepean area, it is understood he went to Maroubra because of a family connection to the suburb.
- SALLY RAWSTHORNE & JACK HOUGHTON