Parole may bar father from family

01:43, Jan 31 2009

A South  African man who killed his deaf daughter when he drove off an Auckland quarry cliff is unlikely to be allowed to live with his family if paroled.

Garth Abbott is serving a 4½ sentence for the manslaughter of his nine-year-old daughter Brittany, who died after hitting a tree branch when her father drove off the summit of Mt Wellington in August 2005.

His first parole hearing was adjourned this month till September because of a psychologist's concerns about him returning to the family situation that existed before the fatal car crash.

The Parole Board said in its decision it shared the psychologist's concerns and that an alternative address should be investigated.

"This is not to say that parole will be granted if an acceptable alternative address is provided," the Parole Board decision stated.

"There are issues about Mr Abbott's insight into this offending and risk factors which arise from that and detailed family contact."

Abbott was charged with murder. The Crown alleged that he tried to kill himself, Brittany and her four-year-old sister Shirvaun in response to relationship problems with his wife, Mirese, immigration issues and his daughters' medical problems. However, a jury convicted him of manslaughter.

Abbott has maintained his innocence, claiming the crash happened because he was distracted by an emotional phone conversation with his wife.

He could be deported to South Africa when freed from prison. His wife said the family would fight any deportation procedures.

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The Dominion Post