3 Apr 2009

Barlow's wife shocked by parole decision

7:40 am on 3 April 2009

The wife of convicted double murderer John Barlow says she is shocked and devastated by the Parole Board's latest report on her husband.

Barlow was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995, with a minimum non-parole period of 14 years, for killing Wellington businessmen Gene and Eugene Thomas in 1994.

On Thursday, the board refused to grant him parole, saying he may believe he is entitled to possess firearms.

It also says Barlow is manipulative and dominant, that his wife was unlikely to speak up if a dangerous situation arose and that he poses an undue risk to the community

But Angela Barlow says the board has made unfounded assumptions.

She says two psychiatric reports have now described her husband as being at a low risk of offending.

She also says many people are against parole in the current political climate, and her husband may be the victim of other people's crimes.

Mrs Barlow says she did not expect the board to refuse her husband parole.

Mrs Barlow also says her husband has promised he would not handle firearms if released.

Barlow was found guilty at his third trial of killing the two Wellington businessmen.

The Parole Board acknowledges psychological reports show Barlow is at low risk of offending and that he has exceptional support from his family.

But it says he may believe himself entitled to posses guns and have the means to obtain them once living in the community.

It also notes Barlow's bail was once revoked because two firearms were found in his house.

The board does support releasing him on leave in controlled circumstances, so he can spend periods of time at home and working in the community.

In February, the Privy Council in London heard an appeal from Barlow's lawyers, who argued that a bullet-testing technique used by the prosecution in his last trial has since been discredited.

The Privy Council has not yet released its decision.