Killer will reoffend says victim's mother

Last updated 05:00 23/07/2014
Vanessa Woodman
VANESSA WOODMAN: Killed in 1997.

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The mother of a teenager who was stabbed to death is adamant that her murderer will offend again, after the Parole Board said it would support his temporary release from prison.

Nicholas Iain Hawker was jailed in 1997, at the age of 18, after killing schoolgirl Vanessa Woodman in the grounds of Wellington's Onslow College.

He strangled the 15-year-old, slit her throat and stabbed her 32 times.

Hawker was freed on parole in December 2011 and was living at a Christchurch residential facility for prison parolees, but was recalled six months later after bestiality and child sex abuse images were found on his computer.

At his latest parole hearing, on June 27, it was noted that Hawker had completed the special treatment unit rehabilitation programme and had subsequently undergone a further psychological assessment.

Hawker accepted that he had not engaged appropriately while on parole and had been "emotionally disconnected".

The psychological report indicated that Hawker's "emotional expression" had improved during the programme and that his safety plan had been reviewed.

Hawker's lawyer asked the board to grant temporary leave for a 16-week assessment at the Christchurch unit. The alternative pathway through either the release-to-work programme or self-care would not offer the level of challenge and support, he said.

But Vanessa's mother, Leigh Woodman, who also helps support other victims through the Sensible Sentencing Trust, said she believed Hawker would reoffend at some point after being released.

Woodman has attended every victim hearing of her daughter's murderer since he was jailed, despite describing it as a "form of torture".

"Never once has he said ‘sorry'. I think in his own mind he doesn't think he's done much wrong."

Hawker had treated the Parole Board with contempt when it freed him two years ago and it was hard to believe it had given him another chance, she said.

"As far as I'm concerned he's a sexual deviant and that's why he murdered Nessa in the first place. I honestly believe he will reoffend."

She expressed her concerns at the latest hearing, but in its decision the board said it believed Hawker had the best chance of rehabilitation at the unit.

"Having regard to the ability of . . . staff to test Mr Hawker's skill acquisition in a monitored environment, the board has reached the view that temporary release . . . is to be preferred to a prison-based reintegration pathway."

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Hawker will appear before the board again in six months.

- The Dominion Post

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