Parole denied for 84-year-old sex offender

NO PAROLE: Donald Macdonald-Dalkeith, one of the country’s oldest convicted sex offenders.
NO PAROLE: Donald Macdonald-Dalkeith, one of the country’s oldest convicted sex offenders.

One of New Zealand's oldest prisoners has been denied parole because, although he turns 84 today, his "age has not diminished his risk of sexual reoffending".

Donald Macdonald-Dalkeith, believed to be New Zealand's oldest convicted sexual offender at the time of his offending, was jailed for five years and four months in March 2010.

The decision to keep him behind bars has been backed by a victim's mother - "leopards don't change their spots".

According to the Department of Corrections, Macdonald-Dalkeith was one of just nine prisoners aged between 80 and 84 as at September last year. The oldest was 84.

The retired teacher and former parliamentary librarian committed indecencies against boys while he was 80. He was sentenced in the Napier District Court after pleading guilty to 14 charges of unlawful sexual connection with a young person aged under 16.

Last month, for his second hearing, the Parole Board said Macdonald-Dalkeith's physical and mental health continued to deteriorate. He had mild dementia and needed ongoing support for daily living.

He had no family but maintained contact with some female friends. He proposed to the board that he be released to live in Christchurch.

The board found "there is no question of him being released at this stage. He continues to pose an undue risk to the safety of the community".

"Clearly age has not diminished his risk of sexual reoffending," it said.

This was demonstrated not only by his committing current offences while very elderly, but also "by an incident in February", the board said. Corrections would not say what he had done.

Due to his "ongoing risk and probable inability to address his risk of reoffending and the lack of a robust release plan", parole was declined. His next parole hearing is in January next year, at which time the board will consider whether he should remain in prison until his sentence ends in 2015.

Yesterday, the mother of one of his victims told The Dominion Post she backed the board's view and "there's no way he should be allowed out".

"He blames everyone but himself. I wouldn't wish what happened to us on my worst enemy. He might be an old man, but he preys on young, vulnerable children."

Her son was still affected by the offending, she said.

Macdonald-Dalkeith's offending involved unlawful sexual connection with a boy aged between 12 and 14 between mid-2007 and 2009. He committed the same offence against another boy, 14, over seven months in 2009. The younger victim had Asperger's syndrome and made two suicide attempts.

Both boys were lured into MacDonald-Dalkeith's house, which they passed on the way to school. He paid the boys between $5 and $20 or gave them a cigarette for sexual favours, telling them not to tell anyone as no-one would believe them because he was a respected community member.

  • Paul Joseph Dally, the man who kidnapped, raped and murdered Wellington schoolgirl Karla Cardno in 1989, will next month appear before the Parole Board to seek release from prison.

Contact Marty Sharpe
Hawke's Bay reporter

The Dominion Post