Sunday 22 October 2017

'I had no idea he was planning massacre' - girlfriend of gunman

Paddock's partner interviewed by police on her return to the US, but has 'clean conscience'

Questioned: Marilou Danley. Photo: Reuters
Questioned: Marilou Danley. Photo: Reuters

Ken Ritter

The girlfriend of the Las Vegas gunman said last night she had no inkling of the massacre he was plotting when he sent her on a trip abroad to see her family.

Marilou Danley issued the statement after returning from her native Philippines and being interviewed for much of the day by FBI agents. She was out of the country for more than two weeks.

Police interviewed Ms Danley (62) after it emerged Stephen Paddock wired $100,000 (€85,000) to her ahead of his killing spree.

Police said Ms Danley, a former casino worker and an Australian citizen, was not believed to be involved.

She said she was initially pleased when Paddock wired her the money in the Philippines to buy a house for her family, but she later feared it was a way to break up with her.

"It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone," Ms Danley said in a statement read by her lawyer Matthew Lombard outside the FBI's headquarters in Los Angeles.

She also said: "He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen."

Mr Lombard, said he and his client were "fully co-operating" with the FBI and Las Vegas police.

Bloodshed

Ms Danley spoke with the FBI for several hours as investigators struggled to get inside the mind of Paddock, a frustratingly opaque figure who carried out his high-rise massacre of 59 people as they attended a country music festival without leaving the plain-sight clues often found after major acts of bloodshed.

Earlier, Ms Danley's sisters claimed that Paddock sent her to visit relatives in the Philippines before the attack so that she would not interfere with his plans.

Speaking for the first time, Ms Danley's family said they believed Paddock had sent her away deliberately in the run-up to the attacks.

"I know she don't know anything as well like us. She was sent away. She was away so that she will be not there to interfere with what he's planning," her sisters said in an interview with Australia's Channel 7 News.

"She didn't even know that she was going to the Philippines until Steve said 'Marilou, I found you a cheap ticket to the Philippines'."

Ms Danley had assured her family she has a "clean conscience" following the rampage, her brother said. "I called her up immediately and she said, 'Relax, we shouldn't worry about it. I'll fix it. Do not panic. I have a clean conscience'," Reynaldo Bustos told ABC in Manila.

Ms Danley was met by FBI agents at Los Angeles airport late on Tuesday night and was being treated as a "person of interest".

"Her trip back to the US was co-ordinated with FBI authorities," a police official said, adding that she had left Manila unescorted and was returning to clear her name of any involvement in the shooting.

Investigators sweeping the Mandalay Bay Hotel from which Paddock launched his assault found no fewer than 23 guns.

Police believe he used 10 suitcases to smuggle the weapons up to the hotel room, which he had checked into using an ID belonging to Ms Danley four days earlier. Officers also found Ms Danley's slot machine card, which he had apparently been using to gamble with.

Irish Independent

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