'A blessing' killer stays in jail - slain girl's mum

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013
Ida Hawkins with a picture of her slain daughter Colleen Burrows
Fairfax NZ
REMEMBERED: Ida Hawkins with a picture of her slain daughter Colleen Burrows.

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Ida Hawkins counts it as a blessing that her daughter's murderer has resorted to his old ways in prison, and will not be freed after 25 years behind bars.

Yesterday Mrs Hawkins received the Parole Board decision that will see Sam Te Hei remain in prison, with the board finding he failed "by a wide margin" to prove he was not a risk to the community.

Te Hei, 49, is serving a life sentence for the murder of 16-year-old Colleen Burrows in 1987. She was kidnapped, kicked in an hour-long attack, and run over with a car after she refused to have sex with him and a fellow Mongrel Mob member.

Her body was found on the banks of the Tutaekuri River in June 1987, so badly mutilated that police were unable to identify her.

Te Hei would have been eligible for parole after 10 years of his life sentence, but was jailed for 12 years in 1997 for the attempted murder of an inmate who had refused to stab a prison guard as part of a Mongrel Mob initiation.

Te Hei has been eligible for parole since 2005, and went before the Parole Board earlier this month.

It said he had been assessed as minimum security classification last year and had been on several day-releases in Hawke's Bay.

Since November, however, there had been allegations he has been involved with cannabis, and had started "to act in his old ways of 'stand-over' tactics". He denied the allegations.

He has been moved out of Hawke's Bay Prison "to put it bluntly . . . because temporary or other releases into the Hawke's Bay community is seen as undesirable".

He had a high risk of reoffending and he needed to do "considerable work" before he could resume reintegration, the board said.

Mrs Hawkins, a Wairoa-based caregiver for Child, Youth and Family, said it was a blessing that Te Hei had acted up in prison.

"I'd been told before that he could reintegrate into the community, but I've always known he couldn't. He's just not like that.

"He needs to be kept away from the community for everyone's sake. He's done us a huge favour by showing his true colours. It's a huge, huge blessing.

"I still spend quite a bit of time down in Hawke's Bay. Colleen's interred there, and I definitely did not like the idea of him being on day release," she said.

In 2000 Te Hei received an estimated $90,000 compensation payment after being mistreated at Hawke's Bay Prison.

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- The Dominion Post

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