Man guilty of ‘grave’ sexual offending dies in jail

Murray Kannewischer. Photo: Rob Kidd
Murray Kannewischer. Photo: Rob Kidd
An 89-year-old Dunedin man serving an eight-year prison term for two decades of sexual offending has died.

Murray Oscar Kannewischer was two months from a scheduled parole hearing when he died, the board confirmed.

The defendant was jailed in 2017 for sexual offending against six girls, some as young as 8, which started in 1963.

Despite the guilty verdicts at trial Kannewischer maintained his innocence while incarcerated.

At a hearing in July last year, panel convener Judge David Mather described the prisoner as “adamant” about his innocence, also claiming lies had been told.

Given his denials, Kannewischer was considered unsuitable for rehabilitation courses or psychological counselling while at Otago Corrections Facility.

Victims, before that most recent parole hearing, had made forceful submissions to the board about their enduring concerns regarding the man’s release.

Despite his age and the fact a psychological report classed Kannewischer as low risk, they worried he was still a legitimate threat to young girls.

The effects on the victims, Judge Mather said, had been “enduring and profound”.

At sentencing, before the Dunedin District Court, Judge Michael Crosbie said Kannewischer systematically targeted his victims.

‘‘You preyed on these defenceless young women when they were all at about the same stage of physical and emotional development,’’ he said.

‘‘Make no mistake, this is very grave offending.’’

The Otago Daily Times contacted Corrections regarding Kannewischer’s death but it was unable to respond yesterday.

 

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