The mother of Rotorua woman Whittney Robertson holds no ill
feelings towards the repeat drink driver who killed her
daughter and hopes he will use his experience to stop others
Royland Alexander McCann, 39, was jailed in September 2009
but is likely to be released on parole this week.
"We just wish him well and hope that he has all the support
he needs," said Whittney's mother, Sonia Wilson.
"For us we have a lifetime without Whittney but he has also
spent a great deal of time away from his family. It's time
for him to go home and spend time with his family."
McCann, was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court to four
years' jail after previously pleading guilty to one charge
each of dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving
causing injury, driving while forbidden, failing to stop and
ascertain injury, possession of cannabis and possession of
McCann smashed his 4WD head-on into the car 23-year-old
Whittney was a passenger in on May 3, 2009, near Atiamuri,
southwest of Rotorua.
The car Whittney was a passenger in was being driven by her
partner, Shannon Tamariki.
McCann had been drinking and had been forbidden to drive
because of four drink-driving convictions. After the crash,
he ran into dense bush, eluding an extensive police air and
land search of the area.
He was found by police the next morning walking home on
He was breath-tested and blew an alcohol reading of 150
micrograms per litre of breath. The limit is 400mcg.
Friends of McCann had told police he was intoxicated when he
had left their house before the crash.
The court was told in 2009 that McCann had four previous
drinking-driving convictions, the last of which was in 2004.
McCann applied for parole in November 2010 and last November
and had been declined, but in 2011 the Parole Board noted
that he had become involved in the drug treatment unit.
He applied for parole again on October 18 and the hearing was
adjourned until this month after it was found the address he
was to be released to was no longer available and another
property needed to be assessed.
New Zealand Parole Board manager Alistair Spierling told The
Daily Post that McCann was due before the Parole Board this
Mrs Wilson had not been to any of the Parole Board hearings
but said she was aware that McCann was due to appear this
Although McCann's sentence does not end until next July, Mrs
Wilson said they had been told he was likely to be released
from jail at his next appearance before the Parole Board.
"We were quite prepared for him to come out in October."
Mrs Wilson said her daughter was never far from her thoughts
and her death had changed Mrs Wilson and her husband John's
She said making time for family and friends was important.
"Having the loss of a child definitely changes your
However, she said, they had moved on.
"We are realistic. He has done his time. I don't feel bitter
and angry at him at all. I just really hope he gets all the
help he can get."
If there was anything she could say to McCann it would be to
use his experience to stop others from drinking and getting
behind the wheel.
McCann was living in Rotorua before the May 2009 crash and
Mrs Wilson said she had no problems if he wanted to return.
She was also prepared to meet McCann.
"I'm not opposed to talking to him at some stage if that is
something he wanted."
- By Abigail Hartevelt of The Daily Post