double murderer Scott Watson was given special permission to
leave jail to visit his sick mother in hospital - and now
hopes to speak at her funeral this week.
Bev Watson died on Friday, after suffering a series of
strokes. She also had leukaemia. Her funeral will be in
Christchurch on Wednesday.
His father, Chris - who has always insisted his son is
innocent of the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope in the
Marlborough Sounds 15 years ago - said the family wanted the
42-year-old at the service.
"It's something we are attempting ... I am quite hopeful. I
don't think they (the Corrections Department) are out to get
us or anything."
The family planned to seek permission from the authorities
Chris Watson said his son was allowed out several times to
see his mother in the "couple of months" she was in hospital.
He was accompanied by guards.
Scott Watson told his father he wanted to speak at the
funeral. "He wants to get up and say his piece."
Corrections has refused to comment. "The department does not
comment about the movement of individual prisoners," it said
in a statement.
According to the Corrections website, prisoners are sometimes
allowed temporary release on compassionate grounds to visit a
seriously ill relative or to attend a funeral.
In some other cases, compassionate leave is granted to attend
the birth of their child or visit the newborn.
Chris Watson said his son was "bearing up" after his mother's
death, as was the rest of the family. "We have a wee whimper
every now and then."
He said his wife had been unwell for a couple of months but
had been "progressing quite well. Then it turned to garbage
After an 11-week trial in 1999, Scott Watson was convicted of
murdering Ben Smart and his friend Olivia Hope.
They were last seen during the early hours of January 1,
1998. Their bodies have never been recovered.
Watson was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum
non-parole period of 17 years.
He has always denied being responsible for the killings and
has tried on a number of occasions to have the case reopened
and his convictions overturned.
The Court of Appeal rejected an application from him and the
Privy Council later found there were no further grounds for
- Andrew Koubaridis