Actions put down to ‘class clown’ desire

Luke Savigny was denied parole at his most recent hearing and will remain behind bars until at...
Luke Savigny was denied parole at his most recent hearing and will remain behind bars until at least September. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A driver in a fatal crash has put his disruptive behaviour in prison down to a desire to be the "class clown".

Luke Bradley Savigny is serving a prison sentence of five years and seven months after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Savigny was using methamphetamine and cannabis when the vehicle he was driving hit a road sign and five trees, killing his mate Christopher Narayan Blair.

In April, Savigny was denied parole as he remained an undue risk and needed an opportunity to prove himself in the community.

A treatment report said the inmate had been "disruptive and impulsive" and Savigny explained that keeping busy and having structured days would be an important part of reintegrating him successfully.

"He told the [Parole] Board that, at times, if he got a bit bored, he would be the class clown essentially, or as he termed it, he would ‘create a distraction’," the decision said.

"When he was asked about how this would work once he was out in the community if similar situations arose, he acknowledged that was a good point and such behaviour might not be appropriate."

Savigny told the board the factors that led to his offending were drug use, his lifestyle at the time and his association with what he called "bad influences".

"He said he was now willing to change and has the opportunity to engage in employment on release, which would lead to more prosocial contacts," the decision said.

The board agreed he needed reintegration activity to test himself in the community.

A Corrections officer said his behaviour had improved over time; he was keeping busy and involved in prison grounds work.

They also commented the inmate would play class clown if he had an audience.

Savigny was sentenced in the High Court at Dunedin in February 2021.

The court heard Savigny and Mr Blair had a confrontation with a woman and Savigny drove off in her car in March 2020.

He was serving a sentence at the time for previous similar charges and police had forbidden him from driving just three days earlier.

He drove over road cones at Waikouaiti and overtook vehicles, requiring drivers to take evasive action.

They stopped to get petrol in Palmerston before he crossed double yellow lines at Alma and was seen by police weaving along the road.

When a patrol car pursued the vehicle, Savigny increased his speed to 130km and police abandoned the chase.

They soon came across the wreckage at the intersection of Severn and Wansbeck Sts.

A subsequent Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation found the chase should have been called off sooner.

The vehicle was almost split in half and the victim was flung 15m from the crash site.

He died at the scene.

Blood tests showed Savigny had been using cannabis and methamphetamine beforehand.

Savigny will see the Parole Board again in September, in anticipation that he will have had an opportunity to test himself further.

His statutory release date is November 6, 2025.