Terror spree suspect on parole

BLAIR ENSOR AND JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 10:36 01/04/2014
Forensic experts at Wildberry St
Daniel Tobin

INVESTIGATION: Forensic experts are at Amy Farrall's home in Wildberry St.

Amy Farrall
AMY FARRALL: The 24-year-old's body was found in a car at Woolston New World.
Forensic experts at Wildberry Stf
Daniel Tobin
WILDBERRY ST: Amy Farrall's home is being examined for evidence.

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The man at the centre of an inquiry into an attack on two foreign hitchhikers and the killing of a woman had only been out of prison for six months and was still on parole. 

Police said this morning that they had formally interviewed the two hitchhikers overnight and hoped to speak to the 38-year-old "person of interest" today. 

He spent last night in hospital in Greymouth, but was being transferred to Christchurch Hospital this morning. His condition was stable.

This morning, Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said she had been briefed about the case and there was "nothing to suggest" the man's parole conditions "weren't handled properly".

"In such circumstances I would expect a thorough investigation by Corrections into their management of the offender," Tolley said.

The tourists, a 27-year-old from Japan and a 28-year-old from Germany, are in Christchurch Hospital after being airlifted from the West Coast last night.

The 38-year-old man was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court in May 2009 to five years and three months jail for an array of crimes including burglary, theft, arson and manufacturing methamphetamine.

He was freed on parole from Rimutaka Prison last October.

At a hearing a month earlier, the Parole Board ruled the man's risk to the community could be ''adequately mitigated'' over the remaining nine months of his sentence. 

''He has tentatively proposed that in time he may work with a friend in Christchurch,'' the board's decision says.

The special conditions of his release meant he was not allowed to consume and possess alcohol, illicit drugs and synthetic cannabis.

He also had to complete rehabilitation programmes. 

In an unusual move, Corrections Services national commissioner Jeremy Lightfoot told The Press last night a review would be undertaken to make sure the department's supervision of the man ''met our standards''.

''While we do not normally comment ahead of the court process, I thought it important to reassure the public that our initial inquiries show that this offender had met his parole conditions up to the point of his last reporting in to us on 18 March,'' Lightfoot said.

''Our probation staff were in regular contact with him and those he was living with.''

An application to have the man recalled to prison would be lodged with the Parole Board.

Detectives launched a homicide investigation after the body of Amy Elizabeth Farrall, 24, was found in the boot of her car in a supermarket car park in Woolston, Christchurch, about 5pm on Sunday.

An hour earlier, a German woman, 28, and a woman of Japanese and Dutch origin, 27, were found stabbed and with broken bones in Franz Josef.

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The pair had been picked up while hitchhiking at Whataroa.

Investigators believed the two incidents may be connected. 

The man doused himself with petrol and threw burning items out the window of a vehicle during a 90-minute pursuit and a tense five-hour standoff with armed police which ended 25 kilometres south of Fox Glacier when officers fired rounds similar to rubber bullets and let loose a police dog about 3am yesterday.

His injuries had prevented police questioning him last night in connection with the two serious crimes in Canterbury and on the West Coast.  

He had not been charged in relation to either incident, police said last night.

Scene examinations were continuing at the Wildbery St, Woolston address this morning.

It is understood the man had been living at Farrall's home in Wildberry St recently. 

Detective Senior Sergeant Darryl Sweeney appealed for sightings of two vehicles in connection with the police investigation.  

One was a dark-coloured Nissan Terrano, registration number WR4174, which police believed was driven between Christchurch and the West Coast late on Saturday morning. 

Police said they would release a photo of the vehicle, which was damaged during the pursuit and stand-off, today.

The other was Farrall's white Toyota Corolla, registration number WR2685, which police believed was driven from her home in Wildberry St to New World in St Johns St, Woolston, between 9am and 10am on Saturday.

Police would not be commenting on the nature of Farrall's injuries, Sweeney said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Christchurch police on 03-363-7400 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

VICTIM HAD 'KIND HEART'

Amy Elizabeth Farrall was a kind, caring person who loved animals, her family says.

Farrall, 24, was last heard from on Saturday between 8am and 9am. On Sunday afternoon, her body was found in the boot of her car in a Christchurch supermarket carpark.

In a statement released through police yesterday, her family said Farrall was a kind, caring girl who always helped people in need.

In 2011, Farrall completed a Certificate in Mental Health Support Work from CPIT and she worked as a caregiver at Richmond New Zealand, an organisation providing community-based mental health and disability support services. She was a former Lincoln High School pupil.

The family said they were "devastated that her caring nature appears to have been tragically taken advantage of " and were "shattered" by her death.

Friends took to social media to express their shock and grief after police found Farrell's white Toyota Corolla in the car park of Woolston New World. A decorative pink stiletto hung from the car's rear vision mirror.

Her partner wrote that Farrall was his "beautiful soul mate".

"I love you with all my heart. I know [you're] watching over me and will always be by my side. Fly high and be happy and smile down on us," he said.

Another friend said Farrall had "so much heart to give".

"Such a beautiful soul, and she was a great friend," they wrote.

Others took to Facebook after Farrall's name had been made public. "RIP Amy, you were a ray of light in one of the darkest times of my life. You will be sorely missed," wrote one woman.

Richmond New Zealand chief executive Barbara Disley declined to speak about Farrall, "given the amount of time that's passed".

"We are still dealing with the tragedy and for us it's a terrible, tragic loss. We are really just focused on supporting her co- workers and her family."

INJURED TOURISTS SHOCKED BY UNPROVOKED ATTACK

The two women tourists attacked while hitchhiking on the West Coast are shocked and scared by the ordeal.

The pair, a 27-year-old from Japan and a 28-year-old from Germany, had recently met in Nelson.

They were hitchhiking from Whataroa to Queenstown when they were attacked by a man who picked them up on Sunday afternoon.

The tourists were found on the side of the road at Franz Josef with serious injuries about 4pm on Sunday.

The German woman had stab wounds to her neck. Her companion had a broken pelvis, believed to have been caused as she escaped from the vehicle.

A West Coast District Health Board spokeswoman said the 28-year-old German woman was in a serious but stable condition and the 27-year-old Dutch/ Japanese woman was stable.

A Nelson man, who did not want to be named, said he met the travellers two weeks ago.

He had been in contact with them in hospital yesterday. They told him they "were still in shock and scared".

In Nelson, the pair travelled together to the Abel Tasman National Park and Nelson Lakes. They left Nelson last Thursday to travel to the West Coast.

"They are both really similar, outgoing, sweet people with a love of travel. They are trusting and honest but not naive," the man said.

They were heading to Queenstown where they were scheduled to meet one of their sisters today.

The younger woman had not hitchhiked before but her companion had done so extensively in Australia.

The Japanese woman had been working on organic farms around New Zealand and had previously lived in England, Holland and Tokyo. She wanted to spend three months in New Zealand.

Manager of Nelson's Paradiso Backpackers Helen Swarbrick said she was surprised by Sunday's attack.

"It's a shame."

- The Press

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