Drunk who killed trio back in jail

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 12/04/2014

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A man convicted of manslaughter after killing three Taranaki people has been recalled to prison.

Raymond John Hansen was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment for manslaughter in October 2005 following a crash on the Normanby overbridge.

Paul Cowper, 21, Aaron Hurley, 22, and Rochelle Meads, 22, were killed when drunk driver Hansen, who at the time had two previous convictions for drink driving, ploughed into their van on the bridge.

Two others survived the fiery crash but suffered serious injuries.

Hansen was released early on parole in November 2011 but a Department of Corrections spokeswoman yesterday confirmed he had been recalled to jail.

"The New Zealand Parole Board made an interim order to recall Raymond Hansen following an application by the Department of Corrections."

She said whether or not a final recall order was made would be decided in about a month's time.

When sentenced in 2005, Hansen was also banned from driving for four years after his release from jail.

Angela Chamberlain, the mother of Paul Cowper, said she felt physically sick when she heard Hansen had been recalled to jail.

"It has brought everything to a head again, just when we were starting to get things back on track," Chamberlain said.

"I was absolutely gutted, it just knocked my socks off. He shouldn't have got out, he still had three years to go."

Erin Downs, who suffered a broken pelvis in the crash, said the news had come as a shock.

"I have mixed feelings; I'm gutted but at the same time I'm pleased because I feel safe with him behind bars," she said.

Downs had met Hansen since he was released, and he had expressed remorse, but she is now questioning whether it was genuine. "I thought so but this leads me to think no."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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