5 Nov 2010

Teen's killer sentenced to preventive detention

10:24 pm on 5 November 2010

The man who killed teenager Liam Ashley in the back of a prison van may spend the rest of his life in jail, after admitting he wants to kill again.

At the High Court in Auckland on Friday, George Baker was sentenced to preventive detention on charges relating to a hostage siege at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo where he kidnapped an 82-year-old inmate, and a second attack on a prison van when he tried to kidnap a Corrections officer.

Baker is already serving an 18-year jail term for strangling 17-year-old Liam Ashley in a prison van - a case which led to changes regarding the way prisoners are transported.

Preventive detention is an indeterminate sentence, meaning Baker will not be released from jail while he is still considered a risk to the community.

The court heard that Baker had told a psychiatrist that he would kill again if he could, whether he was in jail or released.

Justice Courtney told the court it was one of the most disturbing psychiatric reports she had ever seen.

She said the sentence of preventive detention should send a clear message to the Parole Board that Baker will be a risk, no matter how many years he serves.

Shortly before Justice Courtney started giving the sentence, Baker, even though shackled to security guards either side of him, jumped up and threatened a friend of Liam Ashley who was in the public gallery.

Ashley family 'thrilled' at sentence

Outside court on Friday, Liam Ashley's family welcomed the sentence, saying they hope it means he only leaves jail in a coffin.

Lorraine Ashley says she is thrilled by the sentence imposed and keeping her son's killer in jail for longer will make New Zealand safer.

Her husband, Ian Ashley, says it has been a gruelling time and the sentence has brought closure for his family.

"This evil man is finished - he's no longer in our lives. I've just seen this man have all this power taken away from him. He's finished."

Mr Ashley believes Baker will spend the rest of his life behind bars.