15 May 2010

Police waited before alerting public about rapist

10:09 pm on 15 May 2010

Police say they waited two weeks to alert the public a violent sex offender was at large because they needed to exhaust all other options first.

They have been looking for convicted rapist Maka Renata, 24, since he breached intensive supervision in Napier.

Revealing on Friday they were searching for him, they said he has a very violent criminal history and there is a risk that he could offend again at any time.

"He has shown no remorse for his past crimes and we have grave concerns about him and the risk he may pose to the community," Napier police tactical co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Dan Foley said.

A police spokesperson says they did not want to involve the public before going through all their options to find him, and that has taken two weeks.

Renata's lawyer, Michael Bott, says he has been speaking to Renata for the past two days in the Kapiti Coast suburb of Waikanae and that he promised he would give himself up on Friday night.

However, police say Renata has not handed himself in yet.

Mr Bott says the police decided not to publicise the search until now based on their expertise in dealing with such cases and were right to do so.

Police say Renata committed his first rape ten years ago, when he and his uncle dragged a woman into a Wellington alleyway at knifepoint.

While in prison for that crime, Renata sexually assaulted his 15-year-old cellmate.

In January this year, he breached his parole conditions, which sparked a national search.

He was arrested in Lower Hutt and then relocated to Napier under intensive supervision.