New Zealand's first serial killer denied parole

The man dubbed New Zealand's first serial killer has been denied parole.

But he has started his "reintegrative journey" and is hoping to be released for work soon.

Hayden Tyrone Poulter is serving a life sentence for stabbing to death two sex workers and a massage parlour owner in central Auckland in 1997.

He was also sentenced to 10 years for attempted murder and nine for rape.

"These terrible crimes were committed during two separate incidents, a week apart," said Parole Board panel convener Justice Marion Frater at a hearing on May 5.

Poulter, now 55, was denied parole in June last year.

He had been housed in a prison "inner-self care unit" for four years at the time but the board said Poulter needed to be "tested across various settings" outside the prison before it could be satisfied he would not be a risk to the community.

"Since then Mr Poulter has begun the re-integrative journey," Justice Frater said in Poulter's parole decision, released today.

"He has participated in five guided release outings - to the community, probation offices, to a site-safe meeting and to attend an optometrist's appointment.

"We were told that each of these releases progressed without incident.

"And we are pleased to note that another guided release is scheduled for two weeks' time."

Justice Frater said that although Poulter had progressed, he accepted that his outings "are not enough" .

So, he did not seek parole when he was eligible.

"What he sought was the board's support for further reintegration, including a transfer to the outer self care unit and participation in release to work," Justice Frater explained.

"He remains in the inner unit and it is working on release to work as a construction labourer with civilian contractors undertaking building upgrades within the prison.

"He has just recently begun working with a psychologist on planning around relationships and future intimate encounters.

"He believes these sessions are going well and that there will be a number more before a treatment report is provided."

Justice Frater said Poulter sought a stand-down period of three to six months "to enable him to progress to the next stage".

But she thought he needed longer in prison.

"While, as noted, we support his participation in release to work - indeed it is unrealistic to expect that he can be released without having the opportunity of being challenged in a situation where he meets members of the public, we are less optimistic than Mr Poulter about the time that it will take for him to be ready for release on parole," she said.

"In our view a period of six months on release to work is the bare minimum that it would take before Mr Poulter's ongoing risk could be realistically assessed.

"Parole is declined today."

Poulter will be eligible to apply for parole again in May next year.

Justice Frater requested an updated psychological assessment report for that hearing, focusing particularly on his current risk, the success of any treatment undertaken, and with recommendations as to further interventions, whether in prison or the community.

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