Don't let him out, begs murder victim's mother

By Stephen Cook

The mother of murdered Auckland pizza delivery man Michael Choy is warning the Parole Board that setting free her son's killer would be a "disastrous gamble".

Bailey Junior Kurariki, the country's youngest convicted killer, was just 12 when he was involved with five teenagers in the death of Choy in September 2001.

The following year he was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for his part in the baseball killing, and tomorrow makes his second appearance before the Parole Board.

Kurariki is currently in Hawkes Bay Prison. Last year parole was declined because he still presented "an undue risk to the community".

Choy's mother Rita Croskery told the Herald on Sunday that she believed releasing Kurariki back into society would be a huge mistake on the part of the Parole Board.

She said she hoped valuable lessons had been learned from the Graeme Burton parole affair and that Kurariki, now 17, was made to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

"He doesn't deserve to be out. He's getting an education in there, something that wouldn't happen if he was back in the community.

I just hope he doesn't manage to con them.

"He is so streetwise and convincing and setting him free would be a disastrous gamble," Croskery said.

She would be addressing the board in Auckland to reiterate the "enormous sense of loss" she still felt over her son's death.

The grief she felt "would never end", and it was made worse by the fact she had to relive the nightmare every time one of her son's killers came up for parole.

"You try and put a brave face on but this becomes very difficult. This is the last thing I wanted to be doing in my retirement.

"But I have to do this for Michael's sake and the community's sake. I need to stand up and be counted over this - and will continue to do so."

Regardless of tomorrow's outcome, Croskery said she would never forgive Kurariki for his part in the murder. What he took from her could never be replaced, she said.

The story so far:

September 2001: Kurariki, aged 12, and five other teenagers kill Auckland pizza delivery man Michael Choy.

September 2002: Kurariki is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison.

June 2003: Kurariki and one of his co-accused take their case to the Court of Appeal.

September 2003: The Court of Appeal rejects the applications.

February 2004: Kurariki is moved from Christchurch's Kingslea Residential Centre to Manukau.

July 2004: Kurariki's request to take his case to the Privy Council is dismissed.

August 2004: Kurariki is moved from the Manukau facility to one in Hawkes Bay for causing trouble.

January 2006: Kurariki's parole is declined.

January 2007: Kurariki will appear before the Parole Board for a second time.

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