Serial sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson has today been moved to Whanganui Prison despite legal action opposing his parole to the region still to be heard in the High Court.
The Department of Corrections this afternoon confirmed the man dubbed the "Beast of Blenheim'' had been relocated to Whanganui Prison prior to his release next week.
He was moved from Rolleston Prison in Christchurch where he has been serving an 18-year sentence. He is due to be paroled to Wanganui on September 1.
Strict parole conditions mean he will live on prison grounds, with a GPS tracking system to monitor his whereabouts.
The Wanganui District Council has opposed the parole of Wilson to its community and is taking its argument to court, which is set down to be heard in the High Court at Wellington on Monday.
Wanganui Mayor Annette Main said she received a call from the Department of Corrections this afternoon telling her of the move and she was "absolutely'' surprised to hear the move had happened before the court action.
"I hadn't expected it would be today, but I guess it's consistent with what they've said all the time that they're having to house him on the grounds of Whanganui Prison.''
The Parole Board said part of the reason Wilson was being paroled to Wanganui was because it was one of the few cities with the adequate resources and where none of his victims lived.
Ms Main said the Council was still not accepting that he was going to be paroled to Wanganui.
"I know they've got three days and they have to assume that they'll be successful but we don't expect that yet.
"We wouldn't be taking the legal action if we weren't pretty confident we weren't going to succeed,'' she said.
Wilson's lawyer Andrew McKenzie has also launched an urgent legal bid to ease Murray's strict release conditions.
That will also be heard in the High Court at Wellington on Monday.
The Department of Corrections today said it continued to follow the direction of the Parole Board to place Wilson back in the community.
Wilson's move to Whanganui Prison was "part of a routine transfer of prisoners'', it said.
"I am aware that this is a stressful time for the community in this region and I would like to thank them for their understanding while we place this high profile offender back into society,'' Corrections Services general manager Brendan Anstiss said in a statement.
"My staff and I have met with the Mayor, Councillors, stakeholders, iwi, the public and neighbours to explain our plan for this offender. We believe this plan gives us the best chance of ensuring the community's safety as well as allowing this offender's gradual reintegration into the community.''