Parole denied for convicted child murderer

Peter Joseph Holdem. Photo / File
Peter Joseph Holdem. Photo / File

Parole has been denied for convicted child murderer Peter Joseph Holdem.

The 56-year-old has been in jail since being convicted of murdering 6-year-old Louisa Damodran near Christchurch in 1986.

At the time of the murder he had just been released from prison for the abduction and attempted murder of a 10-year-old girl.

A psychological report of Holden in February described him as "predatory and opportunistic".

"Despite extensive treatment it is said he has made little gains and the overall treatment has been unsuccessful despite its intensity."

Holdem was previously denied parole in April 2013, 2011, 2010 and 2007.

"Mr Holdem has little community support. He is not suitable to attend further programmes outside of prison," the Parole Board's April decision said.

"Given that the limited gains he has made over 27 years in prison, his prognosis is gloomy.

He remains an undue risk as a high risk sexual offender and the safety of the community requires that he remain in prison."

In its latest decision, the board said Holdem had been assessed as not being "anywhere near ready" to progress to the usual reintegrative steps that would be required for a person who had spent so long in prison.

He had told the board that he had "served his time" and was being punished for his past rather than the offence he was in prison for.

"He also has convictions for sexual offending and 66 other convictions including for crimes of dishonesty, sexual crimes, assaulting children and escaping," the decision said.

Holdem felt the gains he had made were ignored.

"Mr Holdem now believes that he no longer poses a risk to society," the board's decision said.

"He told [his lawyer] that he had inevitably changed after 27 years and it would be 'insane' for him to want to return to prison."

The board commended Holdem for his willingness to engage with a psychologist, however, it was "difficult for the board to see how this will be possible in any meaningful way given Mr Holdem's view that he will not re-offend".

"In Mr Holdem's case, on the evidence before it, the board considers a very significant change is still required before he would be a suitable candidate for parole when he is next scheduled to be seen for consideration of parole in June 2014."

After abducting Louisa Damodran, Holdem drove to the Waimakariri River, north of Christchurch, where he strangled her and threw her in the river.

Her body was found some weeks later.

Louisa's mother, Aynsley Harwood, told the Herald in 2007 that Holdem was driven to hurt children, and prison was the only place for him.

"He will just have to stay there, otherwise children are in danger. It's the responsibility of every New Zealander to make sure people like Peter Holdem don't go around hurting children. I personally feel Louisa would have wanted to protect other children."

- APNZ

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