Career criminal Dean Wickliffe will not be hauled back to prison after he admitted breaching his parole conditions.

In September Wickliffe, 69, was caught drink driving and was convicted last month after pleading guilty.

He also admitted a charge of breaching his prison release conditions.

He is banned from drinking alcohol.

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Wickliffe appeared before the Parole Board this morning.

Dean Wickliffe, possibly New Zealand's best known criminal, will not be recalled to prison after he breached parole. New Zealand Herald photograph by Brett Phibbs
Dean Wickliffe, possibly New Zealand's best known criminal, will not be recalled to prison after he breached parole. New Zealand Herald photograph by Brett Phibbs

The Herald has learned he will not be recalled to prison.

"The Parole Board today held a hearing for Dean Wickliffe and has decided he will not be recalled to prison," a spokesman said.

"A full written decision outlining the Board's reasons will be available in due course."

Of his 50-or-so convictions, the most serious is the manslaughter of Wellington jeweller Paul Miet during an armed robbery in 1972.

Wickliffe was originally charged with Miet's murder, but that was later downgraded to the lesser charge.

Despite that, the life sentence remained in place.

Wickliffe told the Herald he was "relieved" after this morning's hearing.

"I was a little bit worried," he said.

"Corrections really wanted to have me recalled, they certainly took a hard line."

He said the Corrections representative at the hearing said he "flouted the rules" and need to be taught a lesson.

Going back to prison was the solution.

"She made a really strong case and I was worried," Wickliffe said.

"But the Parole Board took a more realistic approach.

"They said I needed to abide by the rules, but they felt I needed more time to adapt."

Wickliffe was released from prison in May.

He said after spending 41 of his 69 years locked up, surviving on the outside was more difficult than people understood.

"I was lucky, they were understanding enough to realise coming out of prison after as long as I've been in there - it's not going to be easy," he explained.

"But I took a bullet, I acknowledge that I have done wrong and I accept responsibility for it."

Wickliffe said the board members told him he needed to take his conditions more seriously - and he agreed.

"I took on that responsibility," he said.

"They've given me another chance.

"I can't afford to get myself into trouble again.

"I'm quite relieved."

Wickliffe would now focus his energy on his upcoming book, due out in December.

On the most recent charges, Wickliffe was sentenced to 90 hours' community work and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

During sentencing in the Tauranga District Court Wickliffe's lawyer Kerry Hadaway urged Judge Christina Cook to impose community work, given it was 21 years since Wickliffe's last drink-driving offence.

She said the 69-year-old also had a lot of community support.

Hadaway submitted a number of documents to the court, including a letter from Wickliffe, letters of support from his friends, and one from the Maketu Health and Social Services where Wickliffe had been doing voluntary work.

She said Wickliffe accepted he "made a poor decision" after his ride fell through, and community work was appropriate in all circumstances.

Last month Wickliffe explained his offending in an exclusive interview with the Herald.

Dean Wickliffe, one of New Zealand's most high-profile criminals and prison escapees. New Zealand Herald photograph by Brett Phibbs
Dean Wickliffe, one of New Zealand's most high-profile criminals and prison escapees. New Zealand Herald photograph by Brett Phibbs

He had been to visit his long-time partner Dionne Chapman's grave that day with friends, and they invited him for dinner.

Finding out that he'd turned 69 on September 16, they decided to make the dinner a celebration as well as a night of remembering his lost love.

After dinner they went to a bar.

A sober driver had been organised to ensure Wickliffe could get home.

When his mates called it a night at 11.30pm, he called the driver. No answer.

No answer at 12 or 12.30am either.

The bar shut at 1am and the courtesy van couldn't take him home. He had no cash for a cab.

So he made the call to drive the short distance back to the house where he'd had dinner.

Police stopped him less than 100m from the property.