Beast of Blenheim gets extended supervision order

Last updated 15:14 13/07/2012
Stewart Murray Wilson
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
'BEAST OF BLENHEIM': Stewart Murray Wilson, seen giving evidence via video link from Rolleston Prison to the High Court.

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The high risk sex offender dubbed 'The Beast of Blenheim', Stewart Murray Wilson, will stay under extended supervision for the maximum 10 years after his prison sentence ends and his parole term expires.

The order was imposed by Justice Graham Lang in a written decision issued in the High Court at Christchurch today, a week after he heard a day of legal argument.

He described Wilson as presenting "a rare and special case" and said: "He will remain at risk of offending against young females well beyond the expiry of his release conditions.

"An extended supervision order is therefore necessary, in my view, to achieve the statutory objective of protecting such persons from the risk of further offending in the future by Mr Wilson."

He took note of the evidence of clinical psychologist, Dr Jane Freeman-Brown, who considered that Wilson would remain at high risk of reoffending for the rest of his life, or until physical infirmity prevented him from offending further.

Wilson had declined to be interviewed by the doctor in the lead-up to the court hearing, but she had prepared her report from other material available about him.

In 1995, a jury found Wilson guilty on seven charges of rape, one charge of attempted rape, two charges of ill-treatment of children, one charge of bestiality, one charge of attempting to stupefy and two of stupefying, three of assault on a woman, and six of indecent assault.

Many of the charges were laid as representative charges, indicating the offences had been committed more than once.

Wilson was jailed for 21 years in 1996 and has remained in custody even though he became eligible for parole some time ago because the Parole Board considers he presents a high risk of re-offending.

The Department of Corrections had applied for the extended supervision order because of the risks, and Wilson had opposed it, saying there was not enough evidence to conclude that he was likely to re-offend against young females.

Corrections has welcomed the decision to place Wilson under extended supervision, allowing them to monitor him for a further 10 years after his parole expires.

Community Probation Services assistant general manager Maria McDonald said the order meant any convictions during that time could see him straight back in prison.

"During the period of parole the offender is recallable if he presents any undue risk to the safety of others. For the following 10 years a person subject to an ESO can be charged in court for breaching their conditions and, if convicted, may be sentenced for up to two years imprisonment."

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She said special conditions, including the imposition of GPS tracking, both for the period of parole and the extended supervision order would be decided by the Parole Board closer to the time of his release.

Under general conditions an offender subject to parole and an extended supervision order, would have to report to their probation officer regularly. They could also be obliged to attend treatment programmes and counseling as directed, would be subject to constraints as to their residence and employment, and would be subject to restrictions on contact with their victims and with children under the age of 16, McDonald said.

Wilson had denied during the hearing that he had written a typed story allegedly found in his cell in 1999 or 2000, entitled Animal Antics, about a sexual interaction between a horse called Blazer and a young girl. The Crown said the girl's name in the story was similar to one of Wilson's victims. Wilson said in a video link from the prison that he had never seen the story and found it "disgusting".

Since the hearing, defence counsel Andrew McKenzie has filed an affidavit from a prisoner in the same wing at the time, which casts doubt on Wilson's authorship of the story.

Because he was not prepared to delay the hearing for further inquiries, Justice Lang decided the authorship of the seven-page story had not been established and set it aside.

He noted that Wilson's upbringing involved a long period in his teenage years in psychiatric institutions. He had a deprived background and little educational opportunity, and his childhood years were greatly affected by his parents' alcoholism. He appeared to have recovered from his own addiction to alcohol.

Wilson has consistently denied responsibility for his lengthy history of sex offending, and asserts his innocence. He has had no treatment or counselling, nor any intervention to manage his risk.

Justice Lang said he agreed with Dr Freeman-Brown's assessment that Wilson was likely to commit further offences against girls when his release conditions expired in 2015.

Wilson had shown no interest in obtaining psychological intervention during the 16 years he had spent in prison and had never acknowledged wrongdoing in offending that stretched over decades.

"There are many disturbing features about Mr Wilson's past offending. The first is the fact that he offended against so many girls and women over such a very lengthy period. The nature of the offending is also of great concern. It showed a callous disregard for his victims, and also displayed a disturbing degree of manipulation and willingness to resort to extreme measures, including stupefaction, to bring about the submission of his victims."

Wilson must be released from prison on September 1. He will remain under the Parole Board's prison release conditions from then until September 1, 2015.

Justice Lang has imposed the extended supervision order to run for 10 years from September 2015.

TRACKING WILSON

Last month Corrections Minister Anne Tolley announced that tracking using global positioning technology (GPS) in ankle bracelets would begin in August.

She later confirmed Wilson would a candidate for the GPS tracking after his release from prison on September 1.

The new technology would be rolled out from next month for 11 child sex offenders - rising to about 200 by next year. Real-time monitoring, using ankle bracelets, would track the movements of offenders, and give "peace of mind" to the public, Tolley said.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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