Fears Tamihere would move body

IAN STEWARD
Last updated 05:00 24/02/2013
DAVID TAMIHERE
MICHAEL BRADLEY/Fairfax Media
DAVID TAMIHERE: The convicted killer maintains his innocence.

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Double-murderer David Tamihere was banned from going to the Coromandel because of fears he would move the never-recovered body of Swedish tourist Heidi Paakonen, a court heard.

Tamihere, 59, was released from prison in November 2010 with strict parole conditions, including that he stay out of the area in which he murdered Paakonen and boyfriend Urban Hoglin in 1989. But he flew in a helicopter over the scene when the Sunday television programme convinced him to agree to an interview and flyover. He was charged with breaching his parole conditions for doing so.

He defended the charge in the Waitakere District Court on Friday where it emerged that the Parole Board had drawn a Tamihere exclusion zone around the Coromandel Peninsula.

Department of Corrections manager Daniel Munro said Tamihere had initially wanted to go to family land at Mataora Bay between Whangamata and Waihi, but the department had concerns including "the risk of locating the body of the missing victim and moving it".

However, despite the zone encompassing Crosbies Clearing where police believe the murder took place, it did not include Parakiwai Quarry Rd, south of Whangamata, where Hoglin's remains were found.

The blunder was spotted by Tamihere who wanted to show his sons through the sites at the centre of his case. He maintains his innocence and wanted to point out flaws in the case against him.

He told his parole officer he intended to go to Parakiwai but no-one at the parole office knew the significance.

"I didn't make the zone, so I'd wait and see if someone twigs," Tamihere told the court.

In the end he told his parole officer of the significance and though he was not legally barred from going, he agreed it would be "a bad look" to be seen at Hoglin's burial site.

Parole officer Steven Kemara said he was "shocked" when he found out Hoglin's body was found outside the exclusion zone. Corrections later had the Parole Board enlarge the exclusion zone to include Parakiwai.

Munro said Tamihere's psychological reports said he still posed a "high risk of future violent and sexual offending".

Corrections also had concerns about "the large number of tourists in the area and the media issues that would be raised by that". The department also told him it did not want him going to the areas because it could upset the victims' families.

Munro reported Tamihere saying he "didn't give a stuff about the victims as he had spent 20 years locked up for something he didn't do".

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Tamihere told the court: "It's pretty hard to drum up any sympathy for someone you've done 20 years for killing. It's like when they say ‘how did they die?' Who cares - it's not my problem."

When Sunday suggested a helicopter flyover, Tamihere thought flying across the area would satisfy Corrections' concerns. He said he only intended to visit Parakiwai - which wouldn't have been illegal.

However, once they were crossing the Coromandel, the reporter with him suggested they fly over Crosbies Clearing, north of Thames, deep in the exclusion zone - to which Tamihere agreed.

Tamihere used the analogy of visiting a friend to describe the flyover - you would not say you had been to their house if you had just flown over it in a helicopter.

But the Crown argued that the exclusion was about an "area" rather than place on the ground and Tamihere had knowingly violated the condition.

Tamihere was convicted in 1990 of the murders of the two Swedish backpackers, partly based on alleged confessions to fellow inmates that he tied up Hoglin and sexually assaulted him, raped Paakonen and killed the pair.

Paakonen's body has never been found but the discovery of Hoglin's remains conflicted with testimony from an inmate who said Tamihere spoke of cutting up the bodies and throwing them in the sea.

At the time of the murders, Tamihere was living rough in the Coromandel, on the run after being convicted of sexually assaulting and threatening to kill a woman. He also had a prior conviction for the manslaughter of a young Auckland woman, Mary Barcham, whom he killed in 1972.

Judge Mather reserved his decision until next month.

- Sunday Star Times

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