Beast move upsets inmates

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 05:00 28/08/2012
Stewart Murray Wilson
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
'BEAST OF BLENHEIM': Stewart Murray Wilson.

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The serial sex predator known as the Beast of Blenheim is already offside with his new neighbours, who have been kicked out of their home before he's even moved in.

The Corrections Department revealed yesterday that Stewart Murray Wilson will live in a self-care unit on Wanganui Prison grounds until his two-bedroom state house gets council approval to be moved on to its site.

The notorious long-term prisoner is being freed into self-care unit No 5 tomorrow after a High Court judge yesterday dismissed Wanganui District Council's attempt to block his move to the area.

He also rejected most aspects of an appeal by Wilson to relax his strict release conditions. The only change is likely to be to the terms of a Corrections reintegration programme.

The Parole Board is expected to meet today to consider a revised reintegration plan.

Wilson, 65, was jailed for 21 years in 1996 after being convicted on 22 sex charges against women and children between 1971 and 1994.

Former Whanganui mayor Michael Laws said last night a Corrections source had revealed prisoners and staff were angry that inmates had been moved to make way for Wilson.

"There's quite a bit of resentment building among both staff and inmates . . . that so much effort has been made to convenience one man and inconvenience so many others."

The council had exhausted all its legal options, but an extraordinary council meeting today would discuss further action, Mr Laws said.

A "community shunning", by which Wilson could be trespassed from public and private property, was still an option, he believed. Protests outside the prison had also been suggested.

The council has received legal advice that says it has no grounds to decline the consents needed for Wilson's new home. A decision about resource consent must be made before Monday.

In the meantime, the fence around one of the self-care units has been covered in black plastic so it is separated from the other units for Wilson's privacy. He would be free to come and go so long as he was in line with other restrictions placed on him, Corrections lawyer Austin Powell said.

Self-care units near the prison perimeter are intended for prisoners close to the end of their sentences.

At yesterday's hearing, the council failed to convince the judge that the Parole Board had not followed the correct process in deciding that Wilson should be freed to Whanganui.

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Justice Ron Young dismissed the council's application, and will publish his reasons later.

Whanganui Mayor Annette Main said she was "frustrated and disappointed" with the outcome of the hearing.

"Stewart Murray Wilson will never be welcome in our community or any other community in New Zealand."

The hearing is also likely to result in a relaxation of the restrictions that Corrections wanted to impose on Wilson, after the judge said its proposed programme did not seem to have reintegration as its aim.

He was particularly concerned with a condition that Wilson be accompanied by two minders if he left the prison grounds, as well as being electronically monitored via GPS. Unless the minders were available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it would amount only to a restriction and therefore not assist Wilson's reintegration.

Wilson's lawyer, Andrew McKenzie, said outside court that a further appeal was an option.

COUNCIL RELOCATES CHILD ABUSER AFTER HOUSE ATTACKED

A "high-risk" paedophile who came under attack in Turangi has been temporarily shifted and residents are not ruling out legal action to ensure he does not return.

Mary Smallman, chairwoman of the Turangi/Tongariro Safer Community Council, said possible legal action was something that would be discussed at a community meeting tomorrow.

"That is what we want to meet about. To find out what our rights are and do we, in fact, have any rights - [Corrections Minister] Anne Tolley doesn't seem to think so," Mrs Smallman said.

Darren Simon Kihi, who has committed crimes against as many as 28 victims, was freed from prison to live in Turangi on August 19, after temporarily living in Taupo.

He had served his full eight-year sentence for crimes against Auckland boys aged 12 to 16, having first drugged them.

But within days of his arrival in Turangi, angry residents had thrown a Molotov cocktail through a glass door of his house, making it uninhabitable.

Kihi was not home during the attack on Friday and the police are yet to make an arrest over the vigilante action.

The Corrections Department said Kihi had been temporarily shifted from Turangi, but would not confirm his new location.

It said to do so could further endanger Kihi, who was abiding by his extended supervision order. Corrections would not say whether Kihi was still working in forestry around Turangi, one of the main reasons he was released to the town.

A Corrections spokesman said they would not attend the community meeting tomorrow, but would meet concerned groups such as the Safer Community Council.

Mrs Smallman said residents were happy that Kihi was no longer in Turangi, but were not happy about the way he had been driven out.

The hostility towards him had been spurred by what was happening in Whanganui, she said.

"I really do believe, in a normal situation, that these people would not have had the courage to speak out.

"But because these issues have been so public, with Whanganui and other paedophiles in the news, these people have had the courage to speak out."

Mrs Smallman said known paedophiles had shifted to Turangi in the past and nothing ever came of it.

"But what's happening in Wanganui just added to the drama of it and worked people up - especially the women."

She wanted to see those responsible for the firebomb attack arrested. "If people can do that sort of thing and take the law into their own hands, then are any of us safe?"

- The Dominion Post

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