Convicted murderer to remain in prison

Joyce Blondell (a.k.a. Conwell). Photo: Supplied
Joyce Blondell (a.k.a. Conwell). Photo: Supplied
A 71-year-old convicted murderer will remain behind bars after laundering money for an international fraud syndicate.

Joyce Eilleen Blondell (aka Conwell) was sentenced to 14 months' imprisonment when she came before the Timaru District Court last year, having spent five years on parole.

She has since served that sentence and remains incarcerated at Christchurch Women's Prison on a life sentence she received for a murder she confessed to in 1999.

In 1999, out of the blue, Blondell turned up at a Dunedin police station and confessed to providing a shotgun to Murray Childs, which he had used to kill Alex Rodgers in Christchurch.

She also told officers she attacked her friend Doreen Middlemiss in a Lees St care facility 15 months earlier.

Blondell pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder and served 12 years in prison before being released on parole to a unit in Oamaru.

However she was recalled in 2017 after meeting a Nigerian man on Facebook and committing several criminal acts on his behalf.

‘‘Joe Weimer’’, as he called himself, had convinced her they were in love and he was coming to New Zealand, while siphoning stolen cash through her bank accounts.

By April 2016, $100,000 had travelled overseas through Blondell's bank accounts.

Family told the Otago Daily Times they raised suspicions about the scam but they could not convince her.

Blondell came before the Parole Board again this month after completing “limited” psychological counselling.

Panel convenor and Parole Board chair Sir Ron Young noted there was a new safety plan and a problem-solving document in place.

However, he was concerned Blondell was unable to recall any details of those plans.

Sir Ron said the proposal needed to be honed before the board could be convinced it could release her.

“We would wish to know essentially where she was to live, what rehabilitation programmes were possible there, what support there could be from Community Corrections, specifically what support persons would be available, the fact that they have been spoken to and what specific support they could provide. In other words, Ms Conwell needs to develop a tight plan for her reintegration into the community,” he said.

Blondell will come back before the Parole Board in June next year. 

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