Hijacker trespassed from Wellington Airport before completing jail term

Asha Abdille at her sentencing in 2010.
DAVID HALLETT

Asha Abdille at her sentencing in 2010.

The mentally disturbed plane hijacker who threatened to strike again has been banned from Wellington Airport before her jail term ends.

Asha Abdille​ stabbed Air New Zealand pilots Dion McMillan and Ross Haverfield in 2008. One passenger was also injured during the flight from Blenheim to Christchurch.

Abdille is regarded as a special patient and it is understood she'll transfer into the mental health system on a compulsory treatment order (CTO) when her prison sentence ends next month. She has been staying in a hospital long-term care facility.

Asha Abdille from a 2004 news report when she was trying to get the rest of her 14 family members into New Zealand.
ANDREW GORRIE

Asha Abdille from a 2004 news report when she was trying to get the rest of her 14 family members into New Zealand.

The Somali refugee took three knives onto the 19-seater plane, and threatened to crash the plane and kill everyone on board.

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The plane made an emergency landing. Abdille was sentenced to nine years in jail but that sentence expires on February 7, and she has threatened self-harm and another hijack attempt.

Wellington Airport has already banned Abdille ahead of her release from prison.
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington Airport has already banned Abdille ahead of her release from prison.

"Normally we would not discuss individual cases but given this is in the public interest we can confirm in co-ordination with Airport Police we have a standing trespass notice in place and would continue to monitor the situation," a Wellington Airport spokesman said on Wednesday.

"The safety of passengers is our top priority."

Marlborough Airport staff were also exploring the possibility of barring Abdille from the airport.

Chief executive Dean Heiford said staff were working with police to decide if a trespass order would be issued. 

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Barring her depended on the conditions of her release, Heiford said. "She's a lone person who is obviously mentally estranged, but it is concerning that she has come out saying that she would do it again," he said.

The 2008 incident had the potential for disaster and forced changes to the national transportation system, Heiford said.

An earlier psychiatric report on Abdille indicated she posed a high risk of violence and self-harm. 

She was being held last month in the psychiatric unit in the Wellington region, but refused to attend her final Parole Board hearing in early December.

Abdille had 28 previous convictions and was involved in a high number of incidents and misconducts while in prison.

Last month's Parole Board decision showed Abdille had a high prison security classification.

Given "the serious nature of the offending," the board imposed additional special conditions, which last for six months after her statutory release date.

Her probation officer would arrange counselling or treatment after Abdille's prison term ends, the board said, and she would not be allowed on any plane or in any airport without the probation officer's consent.

 - Stuff

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