'Horrendous criminal' seeks parole

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A Tauranga gang leader convicted of the execution-style murder of his ex-girlfriend is to seek parole today.

James Henry Wilson, 41, known as "Little Willy", was president of the Filthy Few motorcycle gang when he murdered his former girlfriend Jo-Anne Maree Van Duyvenbooden in August 1999. A retired police officer who dealt with the case described Wilson as one of the worst criminals he dealt with in his time on the force.

Ms Van Duyvenbooden, a 32-year-old beneficiary, was found dead in a stream bed near her rented Welcome Bay cottage after she was shot in the head three times with a .22 firearm.

Wilson, a Papamoa tattooist, shot her execution-style in the face as she slept in her bed. Then, as she was slumped on the floor, he shot her twice more in the neck and back of her head.

He then dragged the occasional sex worker's body outside and dumped it down a bank, before tossing a mattress and some clothes on top of her.

Wilson tried to dispose of evidence by washing Ms Van Duyvenbooden's bedroom down with a garden hose, removing and burning the plaster cast he was wearing on his left hand, and sent his car out of town.

Wilson, who was convicted of her murder after two jury trials - the first trial resulted in a hung jury - was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 13 years in the High Court at Rotorua in 2000.

In addition, he was also sentenced to three-and-half years on a charge of wilfully attempting to pervert the course of justice after trying to get an unnamed person to take the rap for the murder.

That latter prison sentence was to be served concurrently with a 5-year prison term Wilson was already serving for being a party to the production of methamphetamine.

The NZ Parole Board would not confirm that the hearing is taking place, but a Tauranga police source told the Bay of Plenty Times they believed the hearing would be held in Wellington today.

Retired Detective Inspector Graham Bell, who headed the Van Duyvenbooden homicide inquiry, was quoted in his 2008 book about gruesome killings he had worked on as saying Wilson was one of the toughest criminals he had come across.

"James Henry Wilson would rank as one of the worst criminals I have ever had the misfortune to deal with. I know that many of the witnesses against him live in fear of his eventual release from prison."

Mr Bell, who now fronts the Police 10-7 TV programme, told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday that he still stands by those comments.

"He is basically a ruthless, unconscionable callous criminal," he said.

Wilson's ruthless criminal history also includes convictions for two aggravated robberies in 1983 and 1992 - the latter involved him dripping acid over an Opotiki couple and indecently assaulting the woman with a knife during a home invasion robbery for drugs.

He has "Forever Filthy" tattooed across his forehead.

Mr Bell said there was a fair possibility that Wilson would be released from prison by the Parole Board on strict conditions.

"I think if he is, police will have to take steps to ensure nothing happens to the people who gave evidence against him at his trials.

"I also imagine some of the members of Filthy Few gang will be quite worried, and may be feeling a fair bit of trepidation about his release and possible return to Tauranga."

Tauranga Senior Sergeant Lew Warner, who was also a member of the homicide investigation team, said he supports everything Mr Bell says about Wilson. "Wilson is one of the worst criminals I have dealt with in my almost 30 years in the force ... He is quite a callous person and has a horrendous criminal history involving extreme violence."

Mr Warner said he has written to the Parole Board in relation to Wilson's parole hearing but declined to comment further about the issue.

Ms Van Duvyenbooden's family declined to comment on Wilson's parole hearing.

 

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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