16 Nov 2010

Probation Service regards Tamihere as at high risk of reoffending

7:13 am on 16 November 2010

Newly released convicted double murderer David Tamihere is being treated as at high risk of reoffending by the Probation Service.

Tamihere was released from Spring Hill prison on Monday morning after 21 years behind bars.

The 57-year-old has been freed to a residential under strict conditions and will be electronically monitored.

The Parole Board ruled he could be safely released because of family support and breakthroughs in rehabilitation. Tamihere can be recalled to prison at any time for the remainder of his life.

But the general manager of the Community Probation Service, Katrina Casey, says her agency regards him as high risk.

Ms Casey says Tamihere has among the best family support the agency has seen for someone who has served such a long sentence.

She says the service is being cautious about how it treats Tamihere.

Tamihere served 21 years of a life sentence for the murders of Swedish tourists Heidi Paakkonen and Urban Hoglin on the Coromandel Peninsula in 1989.

Ms Paakkonen's body has never been found and Tamihere denies the killings.

Tamihere had asked to be released to a rural property owned by his family, but difficulties in electronic monitoring in rural areas mean he has instead been freed to an undisclosed residential address.

Conditions of his release include that he stay away from alcohol and drugs, attend counselling for those matters, complete a tikanga Maori programme and undergo a psychiatric assessment.

Tamihere must also return to Spring Hill in February next year for a monitoring and progress hearing.

The president of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Peter Williams, QC, says he believes Tamihere will have psychological problems.

The sister-in-law of Heidi Paakkonen, Cea Paakkonen, said on Monday from Sweden that she was aware of Tamihere's release.