One of New Zealand's most sadistic sex offenders to be released

Ronald Van Der Plaat will be released from prison in May.
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Ronald Van Der Plaat will be released from prison in May.

GRAPHIC WARNING: One of New Zealand's worst sex offenders is set to be released from prison, with the Parole Board warning he is of high risk to the community.

Dutch-born Ronald van der Plaat, 82, was jailed in 2001 for acts described by his sentencing judge as "indescribable cruelty" against his daughter Tanjas Darke in the Pacific Islands and at their Te Atatu, West Auckland home.

Van der Plaat kept Darke as a sex slave for 23 years, committing heinous acts including hanging her from the ceiling by her ankles before abusing her, making her pregnant with a baby she later miscarried, and raping her after giving her overdoses of drugs and alcohol.

Tanjas Darke, who wrote a book about her lifetime of abuse at the hands of her father.
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Tanjas Darke, who wrote a book about her lifetime of abuse at the hands of her father.

Darke waived her automatic name suppression and went on to write an autobiography, Flight of the Dancing Bird.

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She also recounted her life story in a TV documentary To Hell and Back.

Van der Plaat appeared before the Parole Board last month to set his final release conditions before his statutory release date of 11 May.

In its decision, the Board noted the latest psychological assessment put Van der Plaat's risk of reoffending as medium high.

He scored above average on the psychopathy check list, specifically for traits including grandiosity, lack of remorse and deceitfulness.

The psychologist reported that van der Plaat's ageing, possible cognitive decline and lack of insight regarding his risk made relapse prevention planning difficult.

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"The psychological report says that the most likely target for Mr van der Plaat will be vulnerable solo mothers, most likely non-European immigrants, and that he will groom their trust through offering financial, material, practical and emotional support.

"Future victims are likely to be their female children with Mr van der Plaat assuming some form of caregiver role."

His old age was also unlikely to be a deterrent.

"The psychologist can only conclude that Mr van der Plaat's increasing physical frailty...is likely to mitigate his risk of sexual recidivism "over time". There is no evidence before the Board that we are at that point at this time."

The Community Probation Service believed Van der Plaat remained an undue risk to the community, with the Board raising concerns about his proposed release plan.

"The Board needs to record its observation that it is by no means clear that Mr Van der Plaat's proposal will provide the basis for his safe return to the community."

During his time in prison van der Plaat has continued to deny his offending, meaning he is ineligible to take part in any intensive rehabilitation programmes.

The Board found he remained an undue risk to the community and denied him early parole, but van der Plaat will regardless be released in May.

He will be subject to a raft of conditions, including GPS monitoring and being forbidden from associating with people under 16 years old.

The conditions will exist for six months after his release, but van der Plaat could be subjected to an Extended Supervision Order allowing conditions to run for up to 10 years.

Van der Plaat was earlier released on parole in 2010 but soon reoffended after being caught on a museum camera holding hands with a four-year-old girl.

He had befriended the girl's mother and often babysat the young girl.

Van der Plaat's offending was some of the worst seen in New Zealand and was likened to that of Austrian man Josef Fritzl, who kept his daughter Elisabeth locked in the basement as a sex slave for 24 years.

Left to raise Tanjas on his own in 1969 when she was nine, van der Plaat began abusing her and took a series of sadistic photos of his naked daughter.

He took pleasure in the pain he inflicted on her and put her head in a specially-built wooden box that he padlocked as he had sex with her.

Darke eventually escaped when she was 32 and fled to Germany, where she contacted police in New Zealand. Van der Plaat was arrested in 1999.

 - Stuff

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