Gunman’s trail of pregnant women and lost kids
In a hail of police bullets, crazed Penrith gunman Daniel King left his two children fatherless and at least two pregnant women enveloped in his web of infidelity.
The 32-year-old bodybuilder at the centre of Western Sydney's gun rampage had repeatedly pressured childhood friend Stacey Taylor to terminate her unborn baby after he got her pregnant in what he told friends was a "one-night-stand".
King told those close to him he had a fiancee, Natalie, who was also carrying his baby.
However, he claimed Natalie broke off their engagement when she discovered the former Caloundra man was expecting a baby with Ms Taylor.
"I don't want to lose her, this is the one I really love," he is said to have told a friend.
That's despite a third woman, Claire Day, also claiming she was once pregnant and expecting a family with the Mountt Druitt-raised man earlier this year.
King's friend, who asked not to be named, admitted King was "a bit of a player".
"He really regretted the one-night-stand and begged Stacey to get rid of the kid as he didn't want to lose Natalie, he genuinely cared for her," said the friend.
"He said he didn't want to go through life without Nat, he adored her. He was a bit of a player and couldn't help himself."
Friends say King was "struggling" mentally.
But the first intended target in Wednesday's rampage, Ms Taylor, revealed the depths of his anger.
For weeks King was threatening to kill himself and trying to force her to get an abortion, she said.
Leaked private messages from an associate of King allegedly claim the bodybuilder had paid someone to "stomp" Ms Taylor in a bid to end the pregnancy.
King had also stalked the young mother, who is now seven months pregnant with his child, the messages allege.
King's anger culminated on Wednesday night when he showed up in Ms Taylor's driveway with a shotgun and opened fired into her Marayong home.
She was not injured but her estranged lover went on to a police station at St Marys and shot into that building as well.
He then arrived at Penrith Police Station and began shooting. Uniformed officers returned fire and killed him.
He left two children behind - a toddler daughter and a teenage son - as well as the two expectant mothers.
Brisbane woman, Ms Day, says it was only earlier this year that she was expecting a family with King.
They had broken up two months ago and had not carried through with the pregnancy.
Ms Day insisted she, not Natalie or Ms Taylor, was his long-term partner.
In a tribute on Facebook she said she loved King "dearly".
The Brisbane woman said she was "so sorry nothing else worked".
She added that he had dreamt about his demise, wanted to be on the news and his name remembered.
"You had dreams about the way you would go out, you wanted it to be big just like it was," she wrote, just as news of the shooting broke.
Friends of King - the child of a single mother raised in social housing - say his romantic issues had been part of what sent him spiralling into a deep depression over the past few weeks.
"It wasn't an accidental death, Daniel planned his suicide, he used pellets instead of bullets because he wanted police to take him out," one friend said.
"If he really wanted to hurt police he'd have used bullets. He just didn't wanna live anymore."
The revelations came amid claims he was once an aspiring Panthers rugby league player whose career was cut short by a horrific tackle that resulted in a delayed stroke.
Sources close King say the 32-year-old grew up the child of a single mum in a housing commission block who bought bags of cement to make a weight set to begin training and follow his dreams of becoming a star of the Penrith side.
"He wanted to buy his mum a house," the friend said
However, a profile published by Men of League, the charity for fallen footballers set up by former Panthers star Ben Ross, describes how King twisted his neck in an "innocuous tackle" while playing reserve grade for Penrith.
The injury triggered a delayed stroke that left him unable to walk or talk and his mother - the woman he had sought to provide for - was left to feed him.
Men of League helped King through rehab and he was referred to a bodybuilding coach, eventually going on to compete in bodybuilding tournaments by 2015.
The revelations of King's past come as social media posts made just hours before his rampage reveal a haunting farewell message and an ominous vow that "A SOLDIER DIES BUT ONCE".
The gym junkie's private Instagram account on Wednesday night posted an image of him with a woman who he said he was "indebted to in more ways then u (sic) know".
"It was only a matter of time before I f … ed things up, not intentionally I promise but enough is enough," King wrote.
"Love you to the moon and back. Good by (sic)".
He also posted an image of gunned-down rapper Tupac Shakur with the chilling message "A COWARD DIES A THOUSAND DEATHS, A SOLDIER DIES BUT ONCE".
In July King had posted an image of two pistols with messages engraved on their barrels.
"Lord protect me from my friends. I can take care of my enemies," the gun barrels reads.
He elaborated his feelings of betrayal in the caption below.
"The closest people around you, the ones you confided in the most are the biggest rats," he wrote.
"The snakes in the grass always end up getting you. They may win the battle but i WILL win the war."
He hashtagged "#seeusoon" and "makingthearrangements".
Former NRL star Frank Pritchard commented "keep ur circle tight my brother".
But King comments underneath that "this post was directed at you".
Another close friend said King had been eyeballed by outlaw motorcycle gangs for his intimidating size and presence - but never wanted to join.
"They wanted him, he'd be handy," his friend said.
"He wasn't scared of anyone. But no way he had links, he never wanted to be one of them and he had plenty of good mates from growing up."
King had also posted online throughout the year with another account, a clothing business called NLT Apparel, which he launched on Instagram in January.
NLT's account shows him and scantily clad women posted in gym gear with wads of cash.
But less than two weeks after NLT launched, King posted a rant on the account about a traumatic relationship breakdown, hinting at contemplating suicide amid his struggles with a bicep reconstruction.
"As they leave you smash ur head against the wall in hope the physical pain u cause will dull the pain inside," he wrote.
"There was one of two choices to be made. Write a little letter and feed yourself a bullet, or pull yourself together and make a promise that you'll come back bigger and better."
But King seemed optimistic - in one comment he added that "something good" was around the corner and he could "feel it".
But King took to Instagram to vent over what appeared to be relationship woes, posting an image of him alongside a blonde model with a heated caption.
In the post King says his dad taught him to "be nice until it's time to stop being nice, then destroy them".
When confronted over the post by a fellow Instagrammer who said you must love those who have hurt you, King described himself as "a different breed".
A few weeks after the break-up, King posted an image of himself with another ripped bikini model with the post "if you ever find a partner that lives by this very simple but almost extinct code, has your back no matter what and shows gratitude. Take care of her no matter what it takes".
King's Instagram is flooding with comments in the aftermath of his death.
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