It’s the story that touched the nation. Five brave children who disarmed a gunman and wrestled him to the ground to save their mother’s life.
On the night of April 11, 2014, Rachel Moore’s ex-partner, Daryl Fields stormed the family home and attempted to take the mother-of-five’s life with a shotgun, shooting her once in the arm while she tried to hide her children in a bedroom.
In an act of heroism beyond their years, Rachel’s two eldest sons, 14-year-old Jayden and 12-year-old Cameron Caufield, disarmed Fields and wrestled him to the ground using a series of martial arts techniques they learned just weeks earlier.
Now, almost two years on from the horrific experience, the five children have one man to thank for their acts of bravery – and his name is Wade Boyes.
Stay At Home Mum spoke exclusively to the man behind the family’s heroic fight for survival and how they are now turning their experience into something truly empowering.
Martial arts instructor, actor, film festival creator — Wade Boyes has many titles in his line of work but there is one that stands out above all others.
Although he will most likely shake off the title, the Brisbane man is the very reason five children and their mother are alive today.
Just two weeks before Rachel Moore’s ex-partner broke into their house with a shotgun, Jayden, Cameron and sister, 10-year-old Kaylea had been learning self defence, as part of their training as young actors.
A skilled combatant trainer in competitive fighting and weapons handling with more than 30 years’ experience, Wade had been teaching the three how to disarm a potential threat, as well as manoeuvres to render their attacker unconscious.
Wade said the skills learned were to be used if the children had to act in a fight scene or audition for an action movie.
“Never in a million years did I ever think they would have to use these skills in real life, it was only ever meant to improve their acting if they came across a scene that required it,” Wade said, exclusively to Stay At Home Mum.
“I am still amazed to this day, not only how well they picked up the skills but to remember them and use them in a real life situation is just beyond words.”
Wade was the last person to see the children on the night of the attack and the first to find out what happened when Rachel was rushed to hospital with severe arm injuries.
He had been a friend of the family for a number of years and started working with the children to improve their acting about a year before the attack.
“The night I turned up at hospital, Rachel was still in surgery and the kids just ran up to me, full of adrenaline to tell me what they had done,” Wade said.
“They were so proud, they were just talking at a million miles per hour as they talked me through every detail, from disarming the gunman to Kaylea stopping her mother from bleeding.”
“I was just blown away. It was unbelievable what they did.”
On the night of the attack, Rachel had tried to hide her five children away in a bedroom after she heard a heavily intoxicated Fields screech into the driveway.
The 38-year-old told 60 Minutes last month that Fields grabbed her by the throat, threw her against a wall and shot her in the arm.
While attempting to re-load his gun, the two eldest brothers, Cameron and Jayden, bravely charged at Fields and disarmed him.
During the scuffle, Fields managed to grab hold of Rachel, drag her from where she was shot and started to gouge her eyes out.
The boys then heroically ripped Fields off their mother with a knock to his temple before Jayden put him in a chokehold that he had learned at actor training, rendering him unconscious.
As the boys continued the fight Fields, 10-year-old Kaylea stepped in and carried her mother outside and to safety, bandaging her shattered arm and calling emergency services.
Wade said the skills the children learned during their actor fight training just weeks before saved their lives the night of the attack.
“Whenever I teach children these skills, whether for self defence or as part of their acting careers, I never think about them using in real life. You just don’t think it’s going to happen to them,” Wade said.
“You can learn these skills in training but it’s completely different when you have to use them in real life. That takes some serious courage and bravery, which these kids have by the bucket-load.”
Wade has been teaching children martial arts since 1991 and said it was a life skill every person should learn.
“For confidence, for their abilities to interact and have patience — there are so many crazy things that martial arts brings to a child’s life, it should be mandatory for everyone to learn.”
Since the attack, the family moved to a quiet suburb in Brisbane and have all taken up martial arts training with Wade, who had remained an integral part of their lives.
He said the children called him their ‘surrogate dad’, and he was happy to claim the title.
“I love these kids. I think they are beyond talented when it comes to acting and have incredible futures ahead of themselves,” Wade said.
“We go away together on little holidays to the beach, go to the movies, out to dinner, I pick them up from school some days — whatever they need, I am there for them.”
During a car ride from the Gold Coast to Brisbane, while interviewing Wade, Cameron and Jayden spoke about how they had been coping since the attack.
“We get a lot of people writing to us to talk about their own experiences with this sort of thing and offering advice,” Cameron said.
“It’s nice to hear other people’s stories and to know we are not alone.”
Jayden said the family wanted to turn their story into a positive one, focusing their energy on their acting careers and the future.
“We don’t want to dwell on the past, we want to move past this and for others to move past it as well,” he said.
“We don’t want to be known for this experience, but as young actors trying to make it in the industry because that’s what we love doing.”
Fields was charged with attempted murder, along with a string of other charges including breach of domestic violence order and unlawful possession of a firearm.
He pleaded guilty to four charges and is awaiting sentencing.