Killers 'ticking the boxes' for parole

Murder victim Raymond Mullins. File photo / supplied
Murder victim Raymond Mullins. File photo / supplied

The three convicted killers of Auckland engineer Raymond Mullins are simply "ticking the boxes'' to gain parole, his family say.

Natalie Fenton was 15 when she and elder sister Katrina, 19, and friend Daniella Bowman, 17, stabbed and beat Papatoetoe man Raymond Mullins to death on April 1, 1999. The trio were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison with minimum non-parole period of 10 years in February 2000.

All three women have been denied parole following hearings last month.

Natalie Fenton was just 12 days past her 15th birthday when she led the others in the frenzied attack, which came after Mr Mullins refused to give them $500.

She stabbed him in the chest repeatedly with his own steak knife until the blade bent and she had to fetch another. Her elder sister bashed Mr Mullins over the head with a hammer, while Bowman attacked him with a pot.

The court was told how Natalie Fenton befriended Mr Mullins when she was 12 and accepted money from him for sex on five occasions.

A primary school dropout who had been sexually abused as a child, she started using drugs after she took to the streets at age 11, and later turned to prostitution.

The Parole Board earlier noted she had showed remorse and had made impressive progress, but in its latest decision the board said concerns over drugs had held up her progress.

Fenton failed to provide a urine sample when asked, and was consequently removed from self-care to a high security wing.

Her sister was also denied parole due to drug issues, with the board noting she had taken a puff of a "cannabis roach'' while in a self-care unit at prison, which she stopped smoking after one puff.

But the board doubted she was at the point where she could safely be released due to the concern that she might not be able to say no if offered drugs.

The board said Bowman's conduct had been mixed, noting that she had been found with a prohibited cigarette lighter in her cell, and had acted in a passive-aggressive manner towards staff.

Mr Raymond's sister Yvonne and his daughter Leigh-Anne have voiced their opposition to the release of the three women at every parole hearing.

The Fenton sisters appeared for a parole hearing every three months, and despite the frequent hearings taking a toll, Leigh-Anne Mullins said she had to keep fighting for her dad.

"Dad's not here to defend himself. I feel that being his daughter, I have the right to stop these people from coming out. Something keeps pushing inside every time they come up, that I've got to be there to do this for my father, myself and my family, to keep us safe.''

She didn't believe the trio showed any remorse for what they had done, and were instead undertaking restorative programmes to move closer to reintegration into society.

"This is what I tell the board, is each time they come up for parole they go through the necessary steps of ticking the boxes to get closer.''

Yvonne Mullins said she was pleased with the latest denial of parole, and would continue fighting to keep the trio behind bars.

"We're happy every time if I can keep them in as long as possible ... If we can keep them in for 14 years, we've done a good job.''

- APNZ

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