Women's attacker was on parole

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014
Hugh Hemi Tuatua Tareha
JOHN COWPLAND/ Fairfax NZ
GUILTY: Hugh Hemi Tuatua Tareha, 30, who had led the Parole Board to believe he was motivated to make changes, sexually attacked an 87-year-old woman in her home while he was on parole. He is pictured earlier this year.

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A Hastings man who sexually assaulted an 87-year-old woman in her home was on parole at the time.

Name suppression on Hugh Hemi Tuatua Tareha, 30, was lifted yesterday after he admitted the attack on November 7 last year.

It can now be revealed that he attacked another woman on the same day - and that he was on parole at the time for the robbery of an elderly woman.

Tareha had been before the Parole Board just the day before and had led the board to believe he was motivated to make changes.

"We are pleased with his performance," the board wrote in its report on November 6.

About lunchtime the next day, Tareha dragged the 87-year-old woman, who was checking her mailbox, into her home and sexually attacked her. She was found by her son when he arrived at the house about five hours later.

It took months for his mother to work up the courage to go outside, her son said yesterday. The bruises had healed but her fear remained. She now ventured out to do gardening but was wary of others and always made sure the door was locked.

The attack had taken a heavy toll on the family but they were trying to move on with their lives. They were relieved the matter would not go to trial but disgusted to learn Tareha had accosted a second woman that day, all while on parole, he said.

"He's disturbed. Everybody on the street that day [was] vulnerable. If it hadn't been Mum it would've been someone else."

He said Tareha needed to "go away" for an extended period of time.

"Mum was attacked, nothing can change that, but people need to be protected from these sorts of things."

Appearing in Napier District Court yesterday, Tareha pleaded guilty to four charges of unlawful sexual connection, injuring with intent, two charges of assault with intent to cause sexual violation and two burglary charges.

The charges relate to two separate incidents, involving the 87-year-old and the other Hastings woman who were assaulted by Tareha on the same day.

He was given parole just four months before, a little over a year before his sentence of three years and nine months expired.

In February 2011 he was sent to prison after he forced his way into the home of an elderly woman, confronted her in her bedroom and stole a small amount of cash.

He had to be moved from the Maori Focus Unit after an altercation with another prisoner but served most of his time as a minimum security prisoner, a parole report says. He was freed on the condition he stayed away from the victim's home, managed his medication and abstained from drugs and alcohol.

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He reappeared before the board in November. It found that Tareha was complying with the special conditions apart from an "innocent" smoking of synthetic drugs. He was prohibited from smoking any more synthetic drugs and told he did not have to report to the board again.

Weeks later, he was recalled to prison after being arrested for a "grave and disturbing sexual assault", a parole report says.

Yesterday, Justice Simon France entered the convictions and noted that Tareha would receive a second strike under the three strikes legislation at sentencing in September. He ordered a cultural report and two health reports, as the Crown was seeking preventive detention. Tareha was remanded in custody.

THE PAROLE PANEL

 

Judge Russell Callander: A District Court judge from 1981, Callander was appointed to the Parole Board in 2002. Last year, he was made a companion of the Queen's Service Order for services to the judiciary.

Rhonda Pritchard: The non-judicial Parole Board member was a counsellor, supervisor, trainer and mediator for 29 years, and a senior research analyst in the Ministry of Social Development. She was appointed to the board in 2008.

Sue Driver: As well as a consultant in areas of governance, management and evaluation, the non-judicial member was appointed to the board in 2012.

- The Dominion Post

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