Board denies parole as man did not grasp gravity of offence

Nicholas Loper was sentenced to 29 months’ imprisonment last year in the Dunedin District Court...
Nicholas Loper was sentenced to 29 months’ imprisonment last year in the Dunedin District Court for relentlessly assaulting his partner. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
A violent Dunedin man did not "grasp the enormity of his offending" at a meeting with a woman whose neck he fractured.

Nicholas Gavin Loper, 29, was sentenced in the Dunedin District Court last year to 29 months’ imprisonment for ongoing violence towards his partner.

On one occasion, he fractured the victim’s neck and refused to call an ambulance.

The inmate was denied parole for the second time this month.

Before the hearing, the victim told the board Loper had not taken responsibility for his offending, and blamed the stress of work and cannabis use.

"Loper conceded the victim’s comments about his approach to the restorative justice meeting, observing that at the time of the meeting he had not grasped the enormity of his offending," the decision said.

"He told us that he had since acknowledged the reality of that offending through his time in prison and the programme he had completed," the decision said.

The board believed Loper had more work to do on the inside including speaking with a violence counsellor.

"We do not have a safety plan identifying the risk situations with respect to an intimate relationship, the warning signs and the strategies he would deploy to keep any future partner safe," the decision said.

"Until that work is commenced and reported on to the board, we could not be satisfied that his risk was manageable in the community."

In March 2020, Loper grabbed the victim by the neck while she was folding laundry and pinned her against a wall before throwing her down and slamming her head against the floor.

When she later confronted him, he pushed her into a wall, inflicting a further blow to her head.

On another occasion, Loper became angry because he believed the victim had not shown him enough affection when his family had visited.

He pushed her on to a woodpile, causing a fracture to her neck.

The victim was unable to move for up to an hour and when she asked him to call an ambulance, he ignored her.

Later, when Loper strangled his partner, she believed she was going to die, the court heard.

The woman messaged him, voicing those concerns.

"I really hope so one day," Loper responded.

"That would be the best gift you’ve given me."

At the parole hearing a psychological report assessed the man as being at a low risk of violent reoffending, but the risk would be heightened in a relationship.

Loper will next see the Parole Board in August — one year before his statutory release date.