Abuser still in denial: Report

By Cherie Taylor


The man charged with seriously assaulting Rotorua toddler Nia Glassie in the months leading up to her death still denies the worst of the abuse as he gets set to be released from jail on Monday.

Information released to The Daily Post by the Parole Board shows William Warena Curtis, the father of Nia's killers Michael and Wiremu Curtis, was denied parole four times and will have served all of his four-year sentence by Monday. He will be released to a Hamilton address.

Nia died in Starship Hospital in August 2007 from head injuries suffered after being kicked in the head by the Curtis brothers. They were sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 17 years for the murder.

A police investigation discovered Nia, 3, had suffered months of abuse in the lead-up to her death, including two assaults daily from William Curtis when she lived in his one-bedroom James St flat.

Curtis, now 53, was found guilty of eight counts of assault between March and July, 2007, including one of assault with a weapon which referred to an incident when he tied a woollen scarf around her neck and dangled her in mid-air until her face turned purple.

He also pulled her ears, pushed her on the floor, hit her in the mouth, smacked her for crying, kicked her and threatened to stomp on her head if she didn't stop crying.

During his 2008 trial in the Rotorua District Court, the jury was told Curtis called his daughter, Hoana Curtis, 17, who was giving evidence against him, a "snitch" and threatened to "slit her throat". She told the court William assaulted Nia at least twice daily with back-hand slaps and randomly pushing her.

Curtis was jailed for four years in February 2009 but, taking into account time in custody before the trial, he will have served his full term by Monday.

Information provided by the Parole Board show he appeared before the board in June 2010, June and November 2011 and again in April and August. Parole was denied at the first four appearances because "he remains a risk" and at his last appearance in August, conditions were set for six months on his release from prison on October 15.

After a tribunal hearing in April, Judge Carolyn Henwood said Curtis was open about his offending and what happened to the "little one" but the conversation indicated he had "a certain amount of denial about his actual involvement in this whole tragedy".

"He has admitted that he hit her and booted her, as he has said on earlier occasions, and that is mentioned in the psychological report but he does deny some of the more serious charges for which he has been convicted."

Accommodation for Curtis has been organised in Hamilton with Anglican Action, and he must complete a domestic violence programme and attend psychological treatment . He also faces a curfew and other restrictions.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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