Nia Glassie's mum denied parole

By Rosaleen Macbrayne

Nia Glassie died after months of abuse at home. Photo / Supplied
Nia Glassie died after months of abuse at home. Photo / Supplied

The mother of tortured Rotorua toddler Nia Glassie has been denied parole.

Lisa Michelle Kuka, 38, who is serving nine years in prison for manslaughter of the three-year-old, has made her first appearance before the Parole Board since her sentence began on February 4, 2009.

Kuka's then partner, 19-year-old Wiremu Curtis, and his brother Michael, 22, were sentenced to life imprisonment for the little girl's murder.

Ms Kuka accepted full responsibility for her offending but had not yet addressed the issues which led to it, board member Justice Marion Frater said in a decision released toda.

In the view of the Parole Board, she needed assistance to do that.

"While Ms Kuka is understandably reluctant to open up to a psychologist, she accepts this is a necessary, albeit hard, process in order to assess her risk of reoffending, and the factors that led to it, to identify treatment options and to assess her release plan,'' said Ms Frater.

"Until that happens and the board has some idea of Ms Kuka's risk of reoffending we cannot determine whether or not she can safely be released. Accordingly, parole is declined.''

She said Kuka should be seen again in six months. The board has asked for a psychological assessment report to be prepared for that hearing, addressing the issues identified.

There had been no issues concerning Lisa Kuka's behaviour while she had been in custody.

Ms Frater said: "She is described as a fantastic worker and played an integral part in the preparation of the smoke-free prison.''

She had also participated in prison programmes and completed some unit standards.

Since November last year, Ms Kuka had been working in the prison grounds.

In a case that appalled the nation Nia Glassie died on August 3, 2007, from head injuries after being repeatedly kicked.

She had been subjected to ongoing abuse, usually when her mother was out working on a kiwifruit orchard at Te Puke. It included being put in a clothes dryer which was then turned on, hung on a clothesline and spun around, used in wrestling moves, having objects thrown at her, and being subjected to cold baths.

Nia was the youngest of Lisa Kuka's six children before Kuka got together with Wiremu Curtis when she was 34 and he was 16.


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