OPINION: It's all very interesting, hearing what Stewart Murray Wilson's life has been like over the last 20-odd years he's been in jail.
And how it's not all that much better now he's been released, to live in a self-care unit on Whanganui Prison grounds until a two-bedroom home nearby is ready for him to move into this week.
In his first interview in decades, Wilson last week spoke of his time in prison, of being threatened with a knife, and having to fend off other attacks. He claimed other inmates were "jealous" of the stir his case had created.
But, while it might be interesting, if Wilson was hoping to gain some sympathy for his plight, he has a hard row to hoe.
He describes his time in prison as "a living hell"; terminology probably more rightfully claimed by his victims - the women and children he offended against between 1971 and 1994, resulting in his conviction on 22 sex charges. Those charges included rape, attempted rape, wilful ill-treatment of children, bestiality, indecent assault, stupefying, and assaulting a female. Many were representative - meaning they represented offending over a period, not just on one specific occasion.
Wilson grumbles about his strict parole conditions, saying they are over-the-top, and in some ways, even more restrictive than being in prison. His victims, however, have their own private prison. They have to live with what he did to them for the rest of their lives. No matter where they go, or where they live, they will carry the scars and the memories with them.
Oddly, given it's not a situation of his making, Wilson has apologised to the people of Whanganui for causing so much angst in their community when it became known he was to be released into their area.
Apologies for the women and children he offended against are still not forthcoming. During the interview, Wilson maintained his "not guilty" status, and refused to say sorry to his victims.
He pointed out that in 2008 in the High Court he had said if people felt he had harmed or hurt them in the past, he was sorry. Which, as most people will recognise, isn't an apology at all, and takes no responsibility for why people might have felt that way.
Instead, he seems somewhat aggrieved that he should have to "do the time" and then on top of that, be made to say sorry.
Having shown no empathy for his victims, or remorse for his behaviour, Wilson can hardly expect to receive much in the way of sympathy himself.
- © Fairfax NZ News