Jared Savage

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

Tamihere crime-scene flight 'incredibly stupid' says board

David Tamihere. Photo / Sarah Ivey
David Tamihere. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Convicted double-killer David Tamihere was "incredibly stupid" to go flying over the Coromandel crime scene with a television crew in an alleged breach of his parole conditions, the Parole Board says.

But the board decided against recalling Tamihere to prison over the breach because he had not elevated his risk to the community.

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 never been found.

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 for current affairs show Sunday.

His parole conditions state he cannot visit the region past Kopu and Whangamata without Probation Service approval.

The Corrections Department applied to the Parole Board to recall him to prison.

Tamihere believed flying over the exclusion zone did not breach his release conditions, said Parole Board chair-man Judge David Carruthers in the board's decision.

"The purpose and the spirit of the condition was clear. He did not think that to be the case ... We are clear that the purpose of that condition was to respect victims' interests."

As a result of the helicopter trip, Judge Carruthers said the condition was amended in March so the zone was completely out of bounds for Tamihere.

"It is not likely that that misunderstanding or difference in views will occur again."

The Parole Board was also concerned about comments Tamihere made in a Metro magazine article proclaiming his innocence.

"I'd like to kick their balls up through their kidneys," said Tamihere of the two trampers who identified him in the company of a blonde woman in the Coromandel.

"That was regarded as threatening and intimidating, and it is clear from the evidence before us that the person who was the target of that comment took it in that way," said Judge Carruthers.

Tamihere said his choice of words was unfortunate and were borne out of frustration and his sense of injustice about the murder convictions which he believes are based on flawed evidence.

The Parole Board declined to recall Tamihere as he was not a greater risk to the public but had made "a serious mistake of judgment".

"We think Mr Tamihere has been incredibly stupid in the way he has allowed himself to be involved in the publicity around the injustices he considers to have taken place."

The Corrections Department also laid a parole breach charge against Tamihere.

He pleaded not guilty at his first appearance in Waitakere District Court in March and is to reappear in court this month.

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.

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

- NZ Herald

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