Graeme Burton's propensity for violence 'unabated'

02:28, Feb 20 2010
Graeme Burton
ARMED: A pocket knife has been found in the cell of murderer Graeme Burton.

One of the country's most notorious killers, Graeme Burton, has been sentenced yet again to preventive detention.

Burton, flanked by four security guards, sat in the dock impassively while the sentence was given.

The convicted double-murderer was last year found guilty of another murder attempt, this time of a fellow inmate at Auckland's maximum security prison at Paremoremo - headhunter gang member Dwayne Marsh - in December 2008.

Burton stabbed Marsh 27 times with an improvised weapon in the prison's high security wing. One of the stab wounds punctured Marsh's heart and only emergency surgery saved his life, otherwise Burton would have faced his third murder charge, the judge said today.

At the time of Burton's attack on Marsh he was serving a life sentence with a non-parole period of 26 years for the shooting of Karl Kuchenbecker, 26.

Justice Tony Randerson, in the High Court at Auckland, today said expert psychology reports showed Burton was a narcissistic sociopath with a highly manipulative personality.

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He was also an ongoing risk with a high likelihood of still further offending.

Burton is already serving a sentence of preventive detention for various offences at the time he killed Mr Kuchenbecker. He is eligible for parole in 2033.

Judge Randerson said the maximum sentence for attempted murder was 14 years and had to be served concurrently with his existing sentences - which made it a pointless sentence as there would be no additional punishment for the attack on Marsh.

Therefore he gave him a sentence of preventive detention with a minimum period of 10 years in jail. It still means that 2033 is the first time Burton will come up for parole, but it would signal to the parole board how serious a risk Burton was considered.

Judge Randerson said Burton had an "unenviable history of violence and other criminal offending" and told him "your propensity for violence continues unabated."

Crown prosecutor Deb Bell said Burton showed extreme premeditated violence and posed an ongoing risk to fellow inmates - and the public if he ever got out of jail.

He had 113 previous convictions.

A report by a psychologist said Burton had "an inability or unwillingness to control his violent propensities and indifference to the consequences."

Defence counsel Peter Tomlinson said there was little that could be said in mitigation and Burton did not seek to excuse his actions.

But he asked for a sentence that at least gave Burton some hope that he would get out of jail which might motivate him to one day rehabilitate himself.

Judge Tony Randerson said the court still had no idea why Burton attacked Marsh. Marsh refused to talk.

"There is simply no evidence why it happened, it would be wrong to speculate, we just don't know," the judge said.

Burton murdered Mr Kuchenbecker when the father of two was riding his quad bike in the eastern Hutt hills near his Wainuiomata home on January 6 2007.

Four mountain bikers were also injured after being attacked by Burton, who was hiding from police after several violent incidents in the Wellington region.

The convicted killer was later injured in a shootout with police, and had to have his right leg amputated after he was shot in the thigh.

Burton was on parole at the time he killed Mr Kuchenbecker after serving 14 years of a life sentence for the unprovoked murder of nightclub lighting technician Paul Anderson in Wellington in 1992.

When he was released, the Parole Board said he was not an "undue risk" but police begged the Probation Service to revoke his parole five weeks before the shooting rampage.

The case sparked criticism of both the Corrections Department and the Parole Board.

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