Wilson's bill $209,000 since release

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 05:00 20/11/2012
  	 Stewart Wilson
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
FREE AND FISHING: Stewart Wilson at the Whanganui River mouth.

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He's been out of prison less than three months, but sexual predator Stewart Murray Wilson has already cost the taxpayer more than double what it would to keep him behind bars for a year.

Figures released under the Official Information Act reveal the Corrections Department has spent at least $209,313 on Wilson's release up to November 14.

The cost of keeping a prisoner behind bars for a year is about $100,000.

Corrections has defended the cost of Wilson's release - which includes legal bills and the cost of a two-bedroom house and alterations - and says it is "conscious of the need to be prudent with taxpayer money".

However, Wilson believes the conditions of his release are a waste of money and says he is no danger to society.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust also believes the figure is too high and the sex offender dubbed the "Beast of Blenheim" should be sent back to prison.

Wilson was jailed for 21 years in 1996 after being convicted on 22 sex charges against women and children between 1971 and 1994.

He was freed on August 29 into a self-care unit on Whanganui Prison land, but has since been moved to a relocated home nearby.

Wilson has so far refused to sign a tenancy agreement, which would see him paying about $100 rent a week.

The figures released by Corrections last week include bills for his relocation from Rolleston Prison to Whanganui, the cost of defending legal action by Wilson and Wanganui District Council, and the cost of the two-bedroom house.

The department refused to provide the cost of additional security for Wilson, saying it could not do so accurately. Costs associated with Wilson's two minders, both of whom work for the Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Trust, were also withheld for privacy and commercial sensitivity reasons, a spokesman said.

However, a spokeswoman for the trust later said it had invoiced the department for $25,500 since Wilson's release.

Corrections services acting general manager Jeanette Burns said the department was "conscious of the need to be prudent with taxpayer money" and the costs associated with his release were "reasonable".

Wilson was required to live under strict conditions in a region he did not choose, so it was appropriate Corrections met the cost of making his home liveable, she said.

Wilson told The Dominion Post last night that the conditions of his release were a waste of money.

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"This is all over the top. It's an unbearable cost that doesn't have to be. I'm no risk at all.

"They [Corrections] should give it [the money] to me and export me, and I can start a new life elsewhere."

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said the costs associated with Wilson's release were too high and the sexual predator should be put back behind bars under retrospective legislation.

Wilson's release had deeply affected his victims, who were "psychologically and physically destroyed" by his offending.

"We're paying the price of liberal lunacy. It's not about him, it's about the victims.

"Let's throw away the key on Wilson and let the victims get their lives back together."

EXPENSIVE CARE

The cost of Stewart Murray Wilson's release to date:

Housing him in self-care unit No 5 – $14,788

New two-bedroom house and associated costs – $164,383

Transfer from Rolleston Prison to Whanganui – $1737

Additional security – not provided

Defending legal action – $24,183

Other – $4222

- The Dominion Post

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