25 Aug 2010

Double-murderer John Barlow released from jail

9:12 pm on 25 August 2010

Double-murderer John Barlow has been released from Rimutaka prison, saying he plans to keep fighting his conviction.

Following two trials which ended in hung juries, Barlow was found guilty at a third trial in 1995 of killing Eugene Thomas and his son and business partner Gene in their Wellington offices the previous year.

In 2009, the Privy Council in London dismissed his appeal against his conviction for the murders. Last week the Parole Board decided he should be released.

The 64-year-old left the prison in Upper Hutt about 7am on Wednesday and arrived at his home at Pukerua Bay about an hour later driven by his wife Angela.

Barlow has always protested his innocence and told media at his home he is looking at a number of options for overturning his conviction, but refused to be drawn on what they might be.

He said as he'd always led a disciplined, organised life, prison hadn't changed him personally, and he'd had tremendous support from his wife and family.

"It's a lot harder on the family that are left behind than it is on the person who goes into prison," he said.

Barlow's lawyer Greg King said the fight to clear his name has not ended and new information on the case is coming in all the time.

Mr King said if what is regarded as compelling evidence comes forward, they could go to the Governor-General to seek a pardon or a referral back to the Court of Appeal. He said they would act on the new information when they had enough.

Meanwhile, the family of Eugene and Gene Thomas say they just want to get on with their lives.

The daughter and sister of the dead men, Dianne Bryan, says the family had known this day was coming for a long time and it is just a fact of life.