A former student of one of the men accused of gunning down two Queensland police officers in a horrific ambush has revealed how he made her life “hell” at school.
Nathaniel Train, along with his brother Gareth and sister-in-law Stacey, were killed in a shoot out with police after they shot dead two police officers and their neighbour on Monday afternoon.
Constable Rachel McCrow, 29, and Constable Matthew Arnold, 26, were killed “execution-style” after attending the property in Wieambilla, about three hours west of Brisbane, to inquire about a missing person.
The missing person in question was later revealed to be Nathaniel Train.
A neighbour, 58-tear-old Alan Dare, was also shot and killed by the trio after he came over to investigate the situation.
Now, fresh information has come to light about Train and the issues he experienced during his years working as an educator in Queensland and NSW.
Chantel Kari, one of his former students, told news.com.au that she and many other Indigenous students had unpleasant memories of the interactions they had with Train over the years.
Train was the principal at Bentley Park College in Cairns when she was in Year 6, which was around 2006.
“He made my life hell. A lot of the Indigenous students at Bentley Park College had issues with him,” the now 29-year-old said, adding he would have been in his early 30s at the time.
“I was constantly suspended from school for no reason other than he said so, kind of thing.”
Ms Kari said eventually her grandmother stepped in and made a complaint to the Queensland Department of Education.
She said “it was a lot” to deal with and all the paperwork that had to go through the Department took “months”.
“They ended up stepping him down and moving him and the deputy principal from the school because of the constant trouble Indigenous students and families were having with him,” Ms Kari claimed.
News.com.au has contacted Bentley Park College and the Queensland Department of Education for comment.
The 29-year-old said she “couldn’t believe it” when she first heard the news about the deadly shooting.
“I couldn’t believe it. When I saw his name at first I thought but the name was definitely familiar and then I saw his photo and I was absolutely shocked. My siblings were shocked. I think everybody from the Cairns community was shocked,” she said.
“The Indigenous community that had interactions with him obviously weren’t so good, but nobody thought that he was capable of something like this.”
Another Queensland woman, who did not wish to be named, told news.com.au that Train had taught her children at Bluewater State School, near Townsville.
She said he started teaching Year 1 at the school in 1999 and he and his wife had two children in few years he taught at the school.
“Then they separated/divorced and he moved north to another school,” the woman said.
Train’s spiral from principal to cop killer
Mystery still surrounds how Train, once a well-known educator within a number of communities, became a cold-blooded cop killer.
While working as a principal at Yorkeys Knob State Schools in Far North Queensland, he was lauded for turning it into one of the best-performing schools in the state.
A 2017 Cairns Post article about a school fundraiser described him as a “mild-mannered school leader”.
But it all came crashing down after he became executive principal of Walgett Community College Primary School in New South Wales in 2020.
One student, who may have been related to a teaching assistant, was unable to answer the first two questions on their NAPLAN test but then got all of the remaining 34 questions correct, the Daily Mailreported.
Train reported this to the NSW Department of Education but was said to be unhappy with the lack of action.
While many teachers at the school and some community members praised Train’s approach to education, there were others who took issue with his style.
“He went in hard, setting rules and telling [the children that] hot chips and pies are not school food,” one teacher told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Others within the mostly-Indigenous community reportedly described him as racist.
In August 2022, Train suffered a massive heart attack at the school and was saved by teachers who rushed to his aid.
He never returned to school but did not stop his campaign to resolve the cheating scandal, firing off 16 separate emails to the education department.
When that didn’t work, he tried to call on NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham for help.
Mr Latham told the Daily Mail that Nathaniel Train “was cogent” when he spoke to him.
“He knew what he was talking about and it was supported by documentation. He wasn’t ranty with me, but he was certainly bitterly disappointed with the education department.”
Train officially left his job in March 2022, but reportedly hadn’t been seen by members of his family since December 16, 2022.
“Serious concerns” were raised for his welfare when he stopped contacting his family on October 9, 2022, prompting a missing person’s report to be filed.
It was this report that led the four police officers to the Wieambilla on Monday afternoon to carry out the “routine missing person inquiries” at the request of NSW Police.
– with Alexis Carey
Story Credit: news.com.au