Wife-killer Bouwer still an 'undue risk'

Colin Bouwer
Colin Bouwer
Colin Bouwer will stay behind bars in New Zealand for at least another year.

Bouwer, who was convicted of killing his wife Annette in 2001, was refused parole after appearing before the Parole Board via audiovisual link last week.

A deportation order was served on Bouwer in 2002 and upon his release from jail he will be returned to his native South Africa, where the Otago Daily Times understands he would be a free man as his parole conditions would be inapplicable.

The board felt Bouwer still presented an ''undue risk'', its decision, released yesterday, said.

The board not only had to assess Bouwer's risk to the community of New Zealand, but the community in which he would reside.

''We are concerned about the numerous untruths that Mr Bouwer has told over the years and find it difficult to ascertain where the truth lies,'' it said.

''We believe that he would benefit from individual psychological treatment. His release plan also needs a great deal more work.''

Bouwer had planned to live with a Methodist minister and the man's wife on a rural property near Durban upon deportation.

''However, when Community Corrections contacted [them] they ascertained that he no longer owns a farm and that his wife was not willing to have Mr Bouwer live with them,'' the parole board said.

Bouwer, who at his trial claimed his wife committed suicide as a result of depression stemming from a rare and undetected condition known as beta cell hyperplasia, told the board the defence case was wrong.

''He says that he and his wife had a long standing agreement that in the event that one of them suffered a terminal illness they would assist the other to die, and that, ultimately, this is what he did, with her agreement, using insulin, which he had also obtained using forged prescriptions,'' the decision said.

''He also acknowledged that in the lead up to her death, after she had become very unwell, he provided the sulphonylurea drugs to her without her knowledge. He said he did so in an endeavour to force her to be hospitalised, as she was refusing medical attention.

''Mr Bouwer said that he did not tell his side of the story at trial, after legal advice not to use the euthanasia explanation.''

Bouwer told the board he was a ''changed man''.

He came to ''understand the enormity of what he did'' and ''he acknowledged that he was dishonest, not only in relation to his wife's death, but also about a number of other matters, including his health which, he said, was a total fabrication and a means of coping''.

Bouwer assured the board he would not practise medicine again or access medication. However, the decision showed after his initial plans to stay in Durban fell apart, a family member stepped forward to offer accommodation and a job in Johannesburg.

That job would have been at a medical company.

Bouwer's lawyer, David More, reaffirmed yesterday the intention to launch an appeal against Bouwer's conviction with the Privy Council.

Mr More said a British neurologist would testify that Annette suffered from undiagnosed myasthenia gravis - a rare autoimmune disease.

''It's likely to be a matter of months before any appeal is filed,'' he said.

The former University of Otago head of psychological medicine administered a cocktail of drugs to his physiotherapist wife between September 30, 1999, and her unexpected death on January 5, 2000.

Bouwer's parole will be reassessed in August next year.




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