Wife-killer loses parole bid

Last updated 05:00 31/07/2014
robin churchill
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ
FLASHBACK: Constable Steve Wills with Robin Churchill after Churchill was charged with the murder of his wife, Sharon, in 1993.

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Former Timaru businessman Robin Churchill, who murdered his wife more than 20 years ago, has been declined parole again.

In making its decision, the Parole Board stated it had no confidence it would be safe to release him.

Churchill, 51, is serving a life sentence for what the board decision described as the "dreadful execution" of his wife Sharon.

After murdering her at a Seadown address, he drove to Lake Tekapo and dumped her body in the lake.

Churchill received the life sentence in July 1994 but due to his serious assault on another prisoner, he did not become eligible for parole until 10 years later.

Although Churchill has completed all rehabilitation programmes, the board noted he was described as "at times manipulative, lacking remorse and empathy".

He disputes that assessment but material before the board supported the view.

Churchill is now eligible for release to work, with the board suggesting the way forward could be a move to a self-care unit and eventually a release-to-work programme.

The Community Probation Service did not support his release at this stage.

Although Churchill put a release proposal to the board when it saw him this month, the location he was suggesting was not acceptable to the board, taking into account the views of the victims.

"Apart from accommodation, Mr Churchill needs considerable work to develop a satisfactory reintegration pathway and eventual robust release proposal. The pathway might be for release to work elsewhere.

"But this is a matter for the Department of Corrections and Mr Churchill to reflect upon. For the moment, his release plan remains deficient and he is an undue risk.

"All the information before the board together with his presentation to us, does not give us any confidence that he would be safe to release. The release plan that he has proposed is deficient and unacceptable to the board."

Churchill is due to be seen by the board again in 12 months.

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- The Timaru Herald

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