Early release leaves victims concerned

Basil Heazlewood has been released from prison five months before his sentence ends. PHOTO: ODT...
Basil Heazlewood has been released from prison five months before his sentence ends. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A victim of a remorseless sexual predator who inflicted 25 years of abuse says she worries he remains a risk to the community.

Despite 80-year-old Basil Raymond Heazlewood claiming not to remember the offending, encompassed by 17 charges to which he pleaded guilty in the Dunedin District Court in 2014, he was released on parole last week — five months before his sentence of seven and a-half years expired.

At sentencing, the court heard the defendant was "genuinely remorseful" and his lawyer said he planned to do the Kia Marama sex offender programme while behind bars.

But since being jailed the inmate has not undergone treatment, because of his unwillingness to admit the offences.

Between 1961 and 1985, Heazlewood targeted five victims, leaving all severely traumatised and some suicidal over the subsequent years.

One of the women told the Otago Daily Times she was concerned over her abuser’s stance.

"Because of the attitude he’s taken, I don’t know who’s safe. Is he going to keep preying on people? I’d like to think at his age he wouldn’t but I don’t know," she said.

"To me he’s still a risk to the community."

Heazlewood’s parole conditions will run until May next year and included exclusion zones such as Oamaru, Southland and Dunedin, as well as GPS monitoring.

Another victim told the board of her desire to see Heazlewood serve the entire term locked up.

"It is clear that she is still significantly affected by the offending. She is very disappointed that he has not participated in treatment," panel convener Kathryn Snook said.

"This is particularly the case as Mr Heazlewood said to her at the restorative justice meeting that he was sorry and that he would complete treatment."

Ms Snook said the man had "some support" outside the wire.

"We are satisfied today that given the availability of supported accommodation for Mr Heazlewood in a region away from any of his exclusion zones ... the existence of a safety plan, and with appropriate conditions designed to reduce risk, Mr Heazlewood will not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community if released on parole for a short period of time," she said.

His parole conditions included:

- To live at a Christchurch address approved by Probation.

- To comply with any tenancy rules.

- To comply with electronic monitoring as directed.

- To attend a psychological assessment and any prescribed treatment.

- Not to enter Oamaru, Southland or Dunedin.

- To disclose to Probation the start of any intimate relationship.

- To inform Probation of any changes in employment status.

- Not to contact any victim.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

 

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