Child killer denied parole

By Paloma Migone

Peter Holdem murdered Louisa Damodra, 6, in 1986. Photo / Christchurch Star
Peter Holdem murdered Louisa Damodra, 6, in 1986. Photo / Christchurch Star

Peter Holdem, who abducted Christchurch girl Louisa Damodran as she walked home from school, throttled her and dumped her body in a river, has had his latest bid for freedom refused by the Parole Board.

The board's convener Judge David Carruthers called the murder "particularly savage and nasty" in his ruling and said the family remained anxious that he may reoffend.

"Their fears are real in our view," he said.

Holdem, 53, has been in jail since being convicted of murdering six-year-old Louisa near Christchurch in 1986.

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

Holdem appeared before the Parole Board in May.

He was previously denied parole in 2007 and prevented from applying again for three years.

Judge Carruthers said Holdem was assessed as being at a very high risk of offending again, and "so far treatment has not been able to reduce those assessments".

Louisa's mother Aynsley Harwood appeared before the board in May, saying she believed Holdem would kill again if released.

"In the past, I only made written submissions, but I was really glad to make an oral submission," she said today.

"Before that I felt it would be quite frightening and I was also afraid that I might meet Peter Holdem. I don't want to meet him.

"It was difficult, but I believe that I'm saving other children because I certainly believe that if he gets out, he'll kill again."

Louisa would have been 31 years old in October, but Ms Harwood said that after 24 years, dealing with her daughter's death has not become easier.

"I have very clear memories of my daughter. I was very close to her. I just remember how she was."

Holdem will go before the board again in May next year.

- NZPA

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