11 May 2016

Rapist to be released back to Auckland home

9:17 am on 11 May 2016

Notorious rapist Ronald Van der Plaat, will be released to his Auckland home today - with a GPS bracelet on his ankle and a host of conditions around him to protect the public.

An electronic monitoring device.

Ronald Van der Plaat will wear a monitoring bracelet. Photo: 123RF

The 82-year-old has completed his sentence and will be freed from prison today.

The Te Atatu house he will be released to is across the road from where a local woman runs daycare sessions for preschoolers.

Van der Plaat preyed on his own daughter for 13 years, in crimes the sentencing judge called depraved.

The Department of Corrections laid out its safety plan for his release at a recent meeting for locals from the street and says it tried hard to visit everyone who didn't attend the meeting.

Leslie Ashwood was one of those who missed out. He lives a few doors along from a new fence that has just gone up in front of Van der Plaat's house.

"I would've liked to have some information," he said.

"I heard through the grapevine about three or four days ago that he was being released - that was on Facebook. Other than that I have had no other correspondence at all."

Laurence Dyer, 68, did get a visit from Corrections and has their number stuck to his fridge in case he needs to raise the alarm.

Mr Dyer is quick to remember that when the sex criminal was paroled in 2010, he was caught taking nude photos of a four-year-old girl, who was the daughter of a woman he befriended. Van der Plaat was then reimprisoned in 2012.

Mr Dyer said he did not trust Corrections' monitoring.

"I'm afraid for the kids," said Mr Dyer. "There's kids all around here. Most of the schools do fundraising, kids come around knocking on doors selling chocolates and that, so people will have to keep an eye out."

Mr Ashwood said locals would look out for each other, as they did when a convicted paedophile moved in several years ago a few streets over.

"He's well gone. I think the neighbours in that street put the hard word on him and he left. I tend to think they made it uncomfortable for him."

Mr Ashwood expressed hope that Corrections would do proper monitoring and that Van der Plaat's advancing age would slow him down.

However, while he is elderly, the parole board has judged that Van der Plaat is still at medium to high risk of committing another sex crime.

His release conditions ban him from parks, schools, kindergartens, beaches, childcare centres, and libraries.

The principal of nearby Matipo School, Wayne Bainbridge, thinks the release conditions are tight. He notes Van der Plaat preyed on his own daughter, not strangers.

"He is more a predator than a paedophile. I also believe he will be driven out by vigilante-type behaviour."

At Peninsula Primary School, just 400m from Van der Plaat's street, the rapist's release made the front of the school newsletter yesterday.

Principal Teresa Burn told parents that Corrections told her it would be alerted within five minutes if he tried to interfere with his GPS bracelet.

She said all she could do was take Corrections at their word that their plan was good enough.

Local Labour MP Phil Twyford said he had asked the Corrections Minister to reassure the community that every effort has been made to keep Van der Plaat in captivity.

"This guy is a psychopath with an appalling history of offending.

Corrections has applied to the High Court for an Extended Supervision Order, so the conditions on Van der Plaat can stay in place for a decade or longer.

Mr Twyford said those should have been in place already, and asked why a stronger Public Protection Order had not been imposed.

Corrections says the threshold for a Public Protection Order is very high, designed for individuals who have served a prison sentence but still pose a very high risk of imminent and serious sexual or violent offending.