Murderer denied parole 12 years on

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:15 26/12/2013
Helen Johns
VICTIM: Helen Johns was murdered in December 2001.

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The family of a murdered Rongotea woman are still struggling to understand why their mother and grandmother was killed, more than 12 years after she and her boyfriend were gunned down in a jealous rage.

Feilding man Douglas Arthur Thompson, 69, who killed his ex-girlfriend Helen Johns, 43, and her boyfriend Paul Allen, 42, has been denied parole despite promising to leave Manawatu and avoid relationships with women altogether if he were released.

Thompson is serving a term of life imprisonment for shooting the couple at their Rongotea home in December 2001.

Thompson had followed them home after a Christmas function at the Rongotea Tavern.

He killed them and later that night turned himself in to Feilding police.

Thompson had his first appearance before the Parole Board this month, after serving a minimum term of 12 years. In a parole report released to the Manawatu Standard this week, he was denied parole because the board said he still had issues to work through.

Thompson's lawyer, whose name has been withheld, told the board he was low risk, "deeply remorseful" and, through his involvement in the drug treatment unit, has better self-awareness of how to deal with his problems, including a hearing impediment and stress levels.

The board spoke to Thompson about the background to his offending and his thinking at the time.

He accepted that feelings of jealousy, possessiveness, as well as being "significantly intoxicated" and having suicidal thoughts, contributed to his actions.

Before the parole hearing the board met Ms John's daughter and grand-daughter.

They told the board they were still at a loss to understand why he killed their mother and grandmother.

"The effects of his offending was to tear the family apart and they are still grieving as a result of his actions," the parole report said.

They asked for Thompson to never return to Manawatu, which he agreed to. When asked how he would deal with women in the future, Thompson told the board that he would "simply avoid such relationships".

The board said that was an unrealistic approach and more thought needed to be put into a safety plan - an important factor in being granted parole.

"The risks, warning signs and the strategies that he would put into place need to be thought through," the report said.

Thompson is said to be doing well in prison and the board supported the psychologist's recommendations that he start a reintegration pathway, as well as supported home leaves.

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His next chance of parole will be next year.

- Manawatu Standard

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