Kidnapper set for freedom as victim turns eight

BY KERRY WILLIAMSON
Last updated 05:00 01/08/2009
BABY NO MORE: Kahu Durie, 7, now lives with her father, Jarmie Piripi, on a farm near Rotorua.  He says he holds no fears for his daughter when Traynor is freed.
TRACEY ROBINSON/ The Dominion Post
BABY NO MORE: Kahu Durie, 7, now lives with her father, Jarmie Piripi, on a farm near Rotorua. He says he holds no fears for his daughter when Traynor is freed.
TERENCE TRAYNOR:  Will be released from prison later this month after serving two-thirds of his 11-year sentence.
TERENCE TRAYNOR: Will be released from prison later this month after serving two-thirds of his 11-year sentence.
Donna Hall and Eddie Durie with Baby Kahu after the 2002 kidnapping.
HAPPY TRIO: Donna Hall and Eddie Durie with Baby Kahu after the 2002 kidnapping.

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Baby Kahu's snatcher is about to be freed from prison, despite refusing to take responsibility for his crime that shocked a nation.

Terence Traynor failed to win his freedom at every Parole Board hearing during his seven years in prison, however, he must now be freed by law, having served two-thirds of his 11-year sentence.

Traynor, now 61, snatched eight-month-old Kahurautete Durie at gunpoint from her pushchair while her adoptive mother, Donna Hall, was out walking near her Lower Hutt home in April 2002.

Baby Kahu was held hostage in a Taumarunui home for eight days before police swooped.

Traynor will be freed late this month to live at an undisclosed location.

His mother, Ngaire, lives in Lower Hutt. He will have to report to a probation officer, attend any psychological assessments or counselling the probation officer recommends, and is banned from contacting Kahu Durie or her immediate family.

In a Parole Board decision obtained by The Dominion Post, Judge Barry Lovegrove states Traynor has "never been prepared to address his offending and has adopted a stance of withdrawal from any process concerned with ... risk assessment". The board describes Traynor's offending as at the "extreme end of the scale" and showing a "readiness to inflict major hurt on vulnerable people".

Ms Hall, who along with her husband, former High Court Justice Eddie Durie, publicly pleaded for Kahu's kidnapper to give their baby back, declined to comment.

Baby Kahu was returned to her birth parents five months after the kidnapping. Now seven, she lives with her father, Jarmie Piripi, on a farm near Rotorua.

He said he held no fear for Kahu when Traynor was freed. "It was such a dumb move all that meticulous planning to get Kahu and then asking for a stupid ransom."

Traynor initially planned to abduct Ms Hall, after seeing her name in a newspaper rich list, but he decided Kahu would be easier to grab.

On April 13, 2002, Traynor wearing a balaclava and gloves and carrying a loaded sawnoff semi-automatic firearm ambushed Ms Hall while she was out walking.

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He snatched Kahu and sped off, driving to Taumarunui, where he had bought and prepared a house specifically for his kidnap plot.

Traynor held Baby Kahu for eight days, and sent a handwritten ransom note to Ms Hall and Mr Durie, demanding $3 million.

Kahu counts the days till birthday cake time - By MIKE WATSON

The curly-haired little girl who was once known as "the baby who stopped a nation" is now "the Queen of Horohoro School".

Kahurautete Durie will celebrate her eighth birthday in a few weeks just over seven years after she was abducted by Terence Traynor.

She lives with her birth father, Jarmie Piripi, and brother, Iharaira, 14, on a farm on the outskirts of Rotorua.

Kahu has grown to be a bubbly, happy child, excited about her eighth birthday.

"I'm going to have three or four friends over to my house, we'll have a big birthday cake.

"Dad is going to get me a bridle for my horse."

Mr Piripi said his daughter was a special person. "Everyone who meets her says that there's something special about her."

Kahu enjoyed riding her horses Kaukau and Poto and mathematics, he said.

"She loves school, she would go there on the weekends if she could. She is very intelligent and loved by everyone she's the Queen of Horohoro School."

The family had never tried to ignore what happened, he said. "We had so much goodwill, from lots of people, supporting us through the ordeal."

 

- The Dominion Post

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