Killer and rapist ask for last-chance royal mercy

Last updated 05:00 16/12/2012

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A "cold blooded" prostitute killer and a former Commonwealth Games athlete convicted of rape are the latest criminals to apply for mercy.

South African immigrant Jule Burns was convicted of the murder of Suzie Sutherland in 2006, sentenced to 17 years behind bars and is set to be deported on his release.

Sutherland, known as "Ritalin Suzie", was found naked and strangled in central Christchurch in April 2005.

Burns was found guilty of killing her after paying her for sex. His actions were described by a prosecutor as "cold blooded".

Iranian-born wrestler Ricardo Aryan, who was jailed for 13 years in 2009 on multiple rape and sex offence charges, has also applied for mercy.

Aryan represented New Zealand at the 2002 Manchester Games as a freestyle wrestler, finishing fourth in his division.

He was found guilty of six charges relating to offending between 2002 and 2007 following a High Court trial.

Both men have had applications to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court turned down, but the Ministry of Justice confirmed it had received an application for the Royal Prerogative of Mercy from Burns in June, and from Aryan in August.

A mercy application is a last-chance appeal process.

Previous high-profile mercy applicants include David Bain, Stewart Murray Wilson, Peter Ellis and David Dougherty.

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- Sunday Star Times

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