Travis Burns denied parole

CONVICTED: Travis Burns was found guilty of killing Joanne McCarthy.
CONVICTED: Travis Burns was found guilty of killing Joanne McCarthy.

Convicted murderer Travis Burns has had his first bid for parole turned down - with a psychologist urging he stay behind bars for at least another five years.

In 2000, Burns was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 15 years for the murder of Whangaparaoa mother Joanne McCarthy in 1998.

Burns unleashed a horrific attack on the young mum - involving hammer blows, kicks and punches - as her two children watched.

At some point, McCarthy managed to scratch Burns' chest deeply and, despite him putting her in a bath, his DNA was found under her fingernails.

In its decision released this week, the Parole Board said a psychologist suggested it exercise "some caution in accepting entirely the self-report statements of Burns". He was still labelled at "high risk" of reoffending.

The board said Burns presented himself as "plausible and persuasive, but we have reservations about his genuineness".

The board had been told Burns was "affable and charming and pleasant" when things went his way, but when they don't "his responses are very negative".

Burns had an appalling history of not complying with parole conditions, clocking up three convictions for escaping from custody and several for breaching parole.

Prior to the murder, Burns had amassed 65 convictions since the age of 15, including rape, unlawful sexual connection, burglary, forgery, drugs and aggravated wounding.

The board said Burns' history did not "inspire confidence about his complying with parole conditions".

However, Burns' representative was realistic about his chances of parole and submitted Burns would need at least three years to complete various rehabilitation measures.

A psychologist recommended a "minimum" five years.

The board noted that Burns "faces a very lengthy rehabilitation pathway".

"As has been indicated by the psychologists, given his previous breaches of parole and failure to rehabilitate from other sentences for grave crimes, there is little evidence to suggest at the moment that he would comply with another period on parole.

"It is clear that parole must be declined, which it is."

Waikato Times