Murdering nanny must stay in prison

DEIDRE MUSSEN
Last updated 05:00 12/06/2012
healy
Elizabeth Mary Healy leaving court in January 1997.

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A Christchurch nanny who murdered a toddler she was babysitting has been refused parole after more than 14 years in jail.

The Parole Board yesterday released its decision to decline former Barnardos caregiver Elizabeth Mary Healy's latest bid for freedom because her proposed accommodation in Christchurch was too close to the victim's family.

Healy, then 29, was sentenced to life in jail after a jury found her guilty in May 1998 of murdering Shae Hammond, injuring another toddler she was looking after and poisoning a third.

Shae died aged 17 months on January 5, 1997, after her life support was switched off.

Her mother, Andrea Keats, found her that morning with a horrific skull injury after spending the night in Healy's care.

The board said Shae's family asked it not to release Healy into the Christchurch area so they could avoid contact with her, plus for her own safety.

"They are concerned that the reasons for her offending were unknown," it said.

"They were concerned that she denies all responsibility in these matters. They were concerned that it is not known because of her denial what happened and exactly why it happened."

The board's decision noted Healy had been well-behaved, polite and compliant in recent times, and all drug tests were negative.

She had been on the release-to-work scheme and her employer had offered a permanent job on release.

The latest psychological report assessed her as being at low risk of reoffending and she had some months of individual treatment from a psychologist, it said.

"So, although we think that she is on the road to release, today we find ourselves in a position, having given proper weight to victim's views, where we cannot be satisfied in accordance with the [Parole Act], that this proposal is an appropriate one and one where we can be satisfied that she will not present an undue risk to the safety of the community."

It noted that Healy had only recently decided to change her behaviour and attitude.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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