Convicted murderer recalled to prison

A convicted murderer has been recalled to prison after she was arrested for breaching her parole conditions.

Melissa Anne Wepa spent 15 years behind bars after killing a friend who dobbed her in to police.

She was released earlier last year but was recalled to prison in November after allegedly breaching her release conditions.

The 38-year old had been working for a Christchurch painting contractor and was praised at her last parole board hearing for her excellent work.

Christchurch District Court had earlier been told she had left her job and moved house, which created confusion over whether it meant she had breached her parole conditions.

Wepa - who has a distinctive lizard tattoo on her face which she has taken steps to have remove because it was "holding her back" - denies the breach.

Prosecutor Claire Boshier today told the court that the Crown wanted to pursue a prosecution, despite the fact she'd been recalled to prison.

Judge Noel Walsh remanded Wepa in custody for a status hearing on January 31.

Wepa was released from jail last May despite the board assessing her as a moderate to high risk of reoffending.

But since she was on mood-stabilising drugs, had shown promise as a painter, and was subject to strict release conditions, it was thought that her risk could be managed.

Wepa was sentenced to life in prison after she stabbed her friend, Porirua woman Caroline Gardiner, 50 times before dumping her body down a bank.

Nine months into her life sentence, Wepa - who had affiliations to the Mongrel Mob and Deadly F***ing Bitches gangs - was also charged after nearly biting off another inmate's nipple during a fight.

In 2005, she escaped from prison with another inmate when they used a dummy in their cell beds to fool guards.

She escaped again while serving a three-month corrective training term at Arohata in the early 90s but was caught nearby.

- Kurt Bayer of APNZ

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