Residents want to be told about sex offenders

MIKE WATSON
Last updated 05:00 30/08/2012

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Residents want to be told if sex offenders are to be freed into their communities, and how they will be monitored once they are shifted, a public meeting in Turangi was told last night.

High-risk sex offender Darren Simon Kihi had his house in the town firebombed last Friday after he was relocated there.

The 42-year-old was convicted of 28 sex offences and served an eight-year sentence.

Soon after he arrived on August 19, angry residents threw a molotov cocktail through a glass door of his house.

Kihi was not home at the time, and no arrest has been made.

Last night's meeting was called by Turangi Tongariro Safer Communities Council chairwoman Mary Smallman, and attracted about 50 people.

She said the community needed to have a chance to express its feelings and whether it was satisfied with how Kihi was released.

"We should be consulted," she said. "We do not appreciate it or want this."

A resident identifying herself only as Tanya said Kihi was placed next door to her daughter and grandchildren.

"Probation told her Kihi was to be living next door and she was to keep her children safe.

"She was traumatised by what she heard.

"I rang the probation officer and his response was a ‘whether you like it or not' attitude."

Kihi moved into the neighbourhood three days later, she said.

She asked probation why he was placed in a house with children living on both sides.

"The response was that the house was suitable for him to move to because it was cheap.

"They didn't seem to care, that's what shocked me - children and women didn't seem to have any persuasion to change the decision."

Former deputy mayor Don Ormsby said Turangi was surrounded by prisons and everyone was entitled to go free once they served their sentences.

"However, these are serious offenders and it concerns me that probation and Corrections don't care about where these people go to live after being released."

He said authorities never came to see the council when he was a councillor.

"Turangi ends up getting all the crap when these offenders are released."

Former Turangi policeman Duncan McKenzie said it was only nine months ago that the town had a rape.

"To put Kihi here was like rubbing salt into the wound. We don't want society's flotsam floating down into Turangi."

However, Neal Saunders said: "It is not right that the community took into their own hands to get rid of Kihi.

"I'm not defending Kihi's actions, but he has to go somewhere."

Ngati Hikairo kaumatua Te Ngaehe Wanikau also said he did not support vigilantes taking the law into their own hands.

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"I'm not comfortable with the lynch mob mentality which led to this man's house being firebombed.

"What if they had firebombed the wrong house, or the wrong person?

"These people have done their time and, while I don't approve of what they did, you can't have people going around throwing molotovs at houses - it is not right."

- The Dominion Post

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