Victim's mother worried deported NZer to be let loose

By Kent Atkinson

The mother of an Australian woman who was strangled and stomped to death says she's worried about her alleged killer being set free and deported to New Zealand.

"I think he'll just lose it again," Margaret Hunter, of Perth, said today.

New Zealander Martin Marks was found not guilty by reasons of insanity when he went on trial in 2003 for murdering Mrs Hunter's daughter Michelle Trench.

West Australian authorities yesterday released Marks and deported him to Auckland, after the state's attorney general, Jim McGinty, said psychiatric reports had shown no signs mental illness in the past three years.

Mrs Hunter said today: "He's had a few years in a mental institution, where he's monitored and watched ... but once he gets a taste of freedom, who knows what can happen?"

Michelle Trench was beaten so badly all her teeth were knocked loose, and most of her organs damaged, before she was strangled in 2001.

"I really had no option but to approve his release because we shouldn't be keeping people locked up in a psychiatric establishment if they've recovered from their psychiatric condition," Mr McGinty told the ABC.

But Mrs Hunter said today she did not want any other family to suffer as she had.

"We're the ones doing the sentence ... I would hate anyone else to have to go through this".

On his arrival at Auckland International Airport yesterday, Marks was met by a team from the Waikato forensic service, and he is now at a secure psychiatric hospital undergoing assessment.

A spokeswoman for the forensic centre said that when a NZ citizen who had been undergoing mental health treatment in another country was sent home, it was sensible for them to be assessed and treated in an appropriate manner.

She did now know how long the assessment would take, and said any future treatment or care would be decided after the assessment,

Mrs Hunter -- who originally campaigned for foreign killers to be deported from Australia -- said that she had not expected Marks to be released less than four years after the killing of her daughter.

"I'm not out there for revenge -- I don't believe in the death penalty," she told Radio New Zealand.

"But what this (murder) does to your family, you do need to keep an eye on these people, they need to be monitored."

Western Australia's shadow attorney-general Sue Walker said she feared Marks was being released to freedom in New Zealand, even though details of Ms Trench's killing were "horrific".

"What kind of system allows a man who choked his partner to death and stomped on her repeatedly to only serve four years?" she said.

Ms Walker called for the Australian report to Mr McGinty on Marks to be made public.


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