Killer too tied to gang: Mum

By Doug Laing

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The mother of a teenaged Napier girl murdered almost 26 years ago doubts the killer still behind bars will ever give up the gang scene in which the tragedy happened.

Delighted that the now 50-year-old Sam Te Hei blew his chance of parole by breaching conditions of prison day-release, Wairoa woman Ida Hawkins says she doesn't believe he could ever cut his ties with the Mongrel Mob.

Serving a life sentence for the murder of Colleen Burrows, 16, in 1987, and sentenced in 1997 to another 12 years for trying to kill a fellow inmate while in maximum security at Paremoremo, Auckland, Te Hei should never have had the chance to be released, but the outcome was inevitable, Mrs Hawkins says.

"You know what he's going to go straight for," she says, after attending Te Hei's latest parole hearing in Wellington on February 12 and being told of claims that Te Hei had had access to cannabis, and a cellphone, and still used "standover tactics" to get his own way.

She says she hopes he's there "another 25 years". After attending at least five of his hearings wonders why there should be any more.

"It's a waste of my time, and a waste of resources," Ms Hawkins said.

The only benefit was the news, confirmed in a written decision by panel convenor Justice Warwick Gendall received this week, that Te Hei still has "considerable work" to do to lower his security classification to the stage where he could again be a candidate for parole.

She attended with youngest daughter, Tracey, who was 13 at the time of the murder and said yesterday: "I didn't realise he'd done all that. It turned out to be a real good hearing."

They stayed the night in Wellington, and went out to dinner to celebrate, releasing some of the restraint she had felt while Te Hei was allowed to be in the community and in the time after the murder.

Widowed and bringing up her girls and son, Joseph, in a state house on the corner of Williams St and Savage Cres, Marewa, , she says she worried so much for the surviving children after the killing sometimes she wouldn't let them leave the house.

"And I locked myself in," Ms Hawkin said. "I didn't barely ever go down to the shops."

"No such things as Victim Support then. It was just your on your own, get on with life."

Ultimately she moved to Wairoa and lost Joseph in a car crash. But now she has achieved a state she never thought possible: "Happily remarried."

Te Hei was one of two men convicted for the murder in which Ms Burrows was kicked and run over by a vehicle in the middle of the night as gang members reacted to her refusal to have sex with them. Her body was found on June 19, 1987, in a reserve upstream of the Brookfields Bridge.

Te Hei was arrested within days, and would have been eligible for parole after 10 years, had it not been for the jailhouse attack in which he was involved with brother, Warren Te Hei.

Te Hei had not sought release in a parole hearing a year ago, but was granted limited day-release by prison authorities in November 2012.

Justice Gendall said: "Shortly thereafter allegations arose that he was involved with contraband items whilst in self-care and had been continuing to act in his old ways of standover tactics.

Te Hei denied the allegations before the board, but was not entirely consistent, nor persuasive," the convenor said.

As a result of events in December 2012, his minimum security classification was reviewed, and Justice Gendall said "by a wide margin" Te Hei no longer met criteria to be classified an "undue risk" to the community."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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