Man in prison for repeatedly beating partner denied parole

Nicholas Loper will be in prison until at least May. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
Nicholas Loper will be in prison until at least May. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
A Dunedin man who repeatedly abused his partner over two years and refused to call an ambulance when she had fractured her neck has been declined parole.

Nicholas Gavin Loper, 29, was jailed for two years, five months in March last year when he appeared in the Dunedin District Court on a slew of domestic violence charges.

The Otago Corrections Facility inmate came before the Parole Board last month and panel convener Judge Jane Lovell-Smith said he had "done well" while behind bars.

Loper was a minimum-security prisoner, living in self-care units and had been working in the external grounds of the facility.

At sentencing, the court heard details of a series of violent incidents which started in March 2020.

During one episode, 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 a restorative justice conference, the man said he felt no guilt or empathy for the victim but a recent meeting had been more positive, the Parole Board heard.

Counsel Nathan Laws argued his client’s low risk and the efforts he had made to address his issues — including completing the Drug Treatment Programme — meant he could be safely released.

But Judge Lovell-Smith said the board needed more reassurance.

The convener set Loper’s next hearing for May and requested a psychological report assessing risk and any further rehabilitation that might be required.

His sentence expires in August next year. , Court reporter