Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Tamihere to remain free despite breach

David Tamihere says he is at peace with himself. Photo / APN
David Tamihere says he is at peace with himself. Photo / APN

Convicted double-killer David Tamihere will not be recalled to prison despite breaching his parole conditions by flying over the crime scene with a television crew.

Tamihere, 58, was released in late 2010 after spending 20 years in prison for the murders of Urban Hoglin, 23, and Heidi Paakkonen, 21. Ms Paakkonen's body has not been found.

He has recently proclaimed his innocence in a Metro magazine article and featured on the TVNZ current affairs show Sunday.

The Herald revealed in March that Tamihere flew over the Coromandel Peninsula, where the Swedish tourists were last seen alive, in a helicopter with a TVNZ crew. His parole conditions state he cannot visit the region past Kopu and Whangamata without probation service approval.

While he did not set foot on land, the Corrections Department applied to the Parole Board to recall him to prison.

It's understood that comments made by Tamihere in the Metro article also came under scrutiny.

On Monday, the Parole Board held a hearing with Tamihere and decided against recalling him to prison.

"The board has dismissed the recall application, having come to the clear view that the offender has not elevated his risk to the safety of the community," a spokeswoman confirmed.

But the Corrections Department also laid a parole breach charge against Tamihere in court.

He pleaded not guilty at his first appearance in Waitakere District Court last month and is due to reappear in court in May.

Documents released by the Parole Board show Tamihere has made good progress since being released from prison in November 2010 and a number of parole conditions have been relaxed.

The Coromandel exclusion zone condition was amended last November so he could visit family land there if "accompanied at all times by approved whanau members", with the written permission of his probation officer.

Tamihere said he wanted to "take my sons there and walk them through the case ... I want to show them it was impossible I did it".

Tamihere claims he was framed by the police and let down by the Court of Appeal and now wants a retrial.

"When you go through the paperwork you think, 'How the hell did they get away with this?' Then when you look at it more, you think, 'You dirty sons of bitches'."

When Tamihere was arrested in 1989 he had been living in the Coromandel bush for 2 years, on the run after jumping bail while awaiting trial for the rape of a 62-year-old woman.

He had previously served time for the manslaughter of a stripper he says he accidentally hit on the head with a rifle.

Tamihere was convicted of the murders on circumstantial evidence and at the time of his trial no bodies had been found. He denied meeting the tourists, although he admitted stealing their car and driving others around in it.

The Crown called on two trampers who said they saw a man putting up a tent in the company of a blonde woman, although initially they could not identify Tamihere from photos.

After his conviction, Mr Hoglin's body was discovered by pig-hunters in bush 73km from where police said the murders took place.

Mr Hoglin's watch was still on his wrist, contradicting the prosecution claim that Tamihere had stolen it.

Tamihere took his case to the Court of Appeal in 1992, but it ruled his convictions could stand.

Now living in West Auckland with his partner of nearly 40 years, Tamihere is on a sickness benefit with lung problems and had a heart triple bypass six weeks after his release.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 03 Sep 2014 07:15:01 Processing Time: 468ms