Fresh details have emerged about the three men killed in a roadside ‘showdown’ in Victoria’s southwest on Friday – with one of the men identified as a notorious local criminal.
Suspected victims Kevin Knowles, 49, and one of his mates were found injured and run over on the side of a rural road near Kirkstall on Friday morning.
Another body, believed to be that of Travis Cashmore, 45, was later found at a property in Kirkstall.
Police investigators are treating the deaths as a double-murder suicide.
Local media believe the killings were sparked by a long-running ‘neighbourly’ dispute, with reports tensions between Knowles and Mr Cashmore had been ‘simmering’, according to the Herald Sun.
Knowles had built a tough reputation in the area with a feared penchant for violence and multiple prison stretches behind him.
He was a known drug-abuser and police have previously acknowledged a history of domestic violence.
Knowles’ criminal record was tabled during a 2020 coronial inquest, at which time it spanned 50 pages.
Police said a third man, believed to be the gunman, was found dead at a property nearby on Chamberlain Street shortly after the shooting (pictured, emergency services on Kirkstall-Koroit Road)
Knowles and his then girlfriend were investigated over the death of a 57-year-old Warrnambool man in 2016.
The Warrnambool father of two, Steven Johnston, was found bashed to death in his blood-spattered house and Knowles’ then girlfriend Amanda Bourke was the only-known witness to the assault.
Prison letters from Knowles to Ms Bourke were unearthed in a 2019 inquest into the death.
An anonymous triple-0 call seven months after the killing claimed Ms Bourke had beaten Mr Johnston to death with an elephant statue.
A witness told police she heard at least two gunshots and the sound of a vehicle speeding off shortly before the grim discovery (pictured, police vehicle on Kirkstall-Koroit Road)
Ms Bourke told family members Knowles was putting pressure on her to not give evidence and to not be a ‘dog’.
She drowned in a beach west of Warrnambool while swimming with Knowles in January of 2018.
Statements tabled to the Coroner’s finding into her death suggested Ms Bourke had relapsed into the lifestyle of the ‘drug scene’ when she met Knowles in 2012.
It’s believed two men have died after being shot and mowed down by a car on the side of the road in Kirkstall, 75km south-west of Melbourne (pictured, emergency services on Kirkstall-Koroit Road, Kirkstall)
Emergency services were called to Kirkstall, near Warrnambool, at around 10.20am on Friday morning where they found the men on the roadside with gunshot wounds before police later found Cashmore’s body.
Police remained tight-tipped about the incident during the early stage of inquiries.
‘Both men, who are yet to be formally identified, died at the scene,’ a police statement read.
‘The exact circumstances surrounding the incident are yet to be determined. More information will be provided when known.’
A witness who lives nearby told 9News she heard at least two gunshots before hearing a vehicle speed off.
‘The exact circumstances surrounding the deaths are yet to be determined at this stage, however detectives are not looking for anyone else in connection with the matter,’ Victoria Police said in a statement.
Police are urging anyone with information or dashcam footage to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online.
Kirkstall is a small town 275km south-west of Melbourne with a population of less than 400 residents.