‘Put one in him’: the order that triggered Water Board Bowling Club shooting

‘Put one in him’: the order that triggered Water Board Bowling Club shooting Ryker Scott Jennar, convicted of four armed robberies including the attempted murder of Dick McGuigan
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Joel Barton, convicted of 4 armed robberies including the attempted murder of Dick McGuigan.

CCTV images of the Water Board Bowling Club shooting in 2011.

CCTV images of the Water Board Bowling Club shooting in 2011.

CCTV images of the Water Board Bowling Club shooting in 2011.

CCTV images of the Water Board Bowling Club shooting in 2011.

CCTV images of the Water Board Bowling Club shooting in 2011.

Police at the scene of the shooting in 2011. Pic: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebookIT was the Sunday afternoon meat raffles at a little suburban bowling club that cowards Ryker Jennar and Joel Barton decided was the right place for their latest heist.

Jennar, the son of a former union standover man and convicted killer, and Barton, the former football star whose career had already gone down Cessnock Jail’s toilets due his sporadic bouts of extreme violence, teamed up to knock over a post office and a pub.

But this time, things got real.

It was 5.45pm on June 19, 2011, when the pair and their getaway driver drove the stolen green VN Holden Commodore right up to the club’s main doors while the 50-odd patrons remained inside.

Both had their faces masked, Jennar wore a red jumper and was carrying a screwdriver.

Barton wore a white jumper and had a loaded Ruger .223 mini-assault rifle.

They tore inside, Jennar moving two young girls, aged 13 and four, from near the doors and into the foyer before telling them not to move.

Barton walked up to the bar, pointed the gun and demanded money.

It was then that semi-regular social member Dick McGuigan walked up to Jennar and tried to start a conversation.

Mr McGuigan was to say later it was his attempt to stall the robbers to allow more time for the constabulary to arrive.

NCH – NEWS – Dick McGuigan enjoying a game of lawn bowls at the Water Board Bowling Club where he was shot during a robbery on June 20th 2011 —— 15th July 2014 photo by Peter Stoop

“I know you, I recognise you. What the bloody hell are you doing this shit for? Wake up to your-bloody-self,” he said.

Mr McGuigan didn’t know Jennar, but it probably spooked a man who doesn’t like being spooked.

“F–k off, idiot,” was all Jennar could muster.

The bandits continued with their raid, with Barton wildly flinging the gun around as woman and child stood frozen in fear.

As they left, Mr McGuigan and a few others decided to follow them outside.

They were to later say they thought they could get a registration number or something from the getaway car.

But Jennar and Barton saw them and as they walked through the front doors, Jennar told his mate: “Put one in him”.

Barton didn’t need to be told twice.

Footage clearly shows him turning around and taking several steps before he pulls the gun to his shoulder and shoots Mr McGuigan at point-blank range.

An involuntary movement to the left from Mr McGuigan quite probably saves his life, but not before he endures at least 15 operations, loses part of his bowel, has his stomach rebuilt, spends seven weeks in hospital and five months off work.

The reward for attempting to murder an innocent man in his 60s – the princely sum of $5236.

The price – well, Jennar has been given a maximum of 16 years jail with a non-parole period of 12 years.

With time already served, he will be eligible for parole on November 20, 2023.

Barton will face his sentence later this year, but it is suspected he will get the same.

They only faced justice because of the dogged investigative work of detectives from Strike Force Kerwin, which was set up 27 days before Barton fired at Mr McGuigan.

It was established because of a series of violent armed robberies across the Hunter and beyond.

After just over three years, Strike Force Kerwin detectives heard the last of 23 people plead guilty to their part in the robberies in a Sydney court yesterday.

The offenders faced a total of 144 charges after going through more than 223,000 telephone intercepts, 300 statements, 500 exhibits and 19 briefs of evidence.

The briefs on Barton and Jennar were more than 4000 pages each.

The strike force was established, with respected investigator Detective Sergeant Matt Faber in charge, following armed robberies at the Firestation Hotel at Wallsend, the Blackbutt Hotel at New Lambton, and the Criterion Hotel at Carrington.

The first two were by other “crews”, but the Criterion was the work of Jennar and Barton using the same gun and the same arrogance to threaten a barmaid and leave with about $10,000 in cash.

Two days after that robbery, the strike force commenced.

It wasn’t long before Jennar, who had already shown he could use a gun by shooting a man near Waratah train station in 2005, and then Barton came under their microscope.

Barton was once a promising footballer, playing in curtain-raisers for State of Origin with the likes of Jarryd Hayne and juniors with Newcastle Knights and Cronulla Sharks before his career went pear-shaped.

And even after they shot Mr McGuigan, they didn’t slow down.

NCH – NEWS – Dick McGuigan having a laugh with Allan Hamilton while enjoying a game of lawn bowls at the Water Board Bowling Club where he was shot during a robbery on June 20th 2011 —— 15th July 2014 photo by Peter Stoop

A month later, they stormed the Newcastle Permanent at New Lambton with a sawn-off shotgun and a sledgehammer and went to town.

This time, they left with $44,000.

When Jennar was finally arrested, police found $10,000 in cash secreted inside a punching bag laying on a garage floor together with a sledgehammer.

Barton was later arrested at gunpoint in Moree after going on the run.