Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Drink-driving killer declines to appear at parole hearing

Gavin Hawthorn was the driver of this black Mitsubishi, which slammed into a concrete pole killing Lance Richard Fryer, 34, of Carterton in 2003.
Gavin Hawthorn was the driver of this black Mitsubishi, which slammed into a concrete pole killing Lance Richard Fryer, 34, of Carterton in 2003.

One of the country's worst drink-driving killers has waived his right to appear at a parole hearing that was to decide on his release conditions.

Gavin Hawthorn was due to appear in front of the Parole Board at Rimutaka Prison today. He has spent nearly 10 years in prison for manslaughter.

However, shortly before the hearing was due to start he declined to appear.

The board adjourned the hearing until May to set parole conditions which could be imposed for a maximum of six months from Hawthorn's sentence end date, which is June 4, a Parole Board spokeswoman said.

A hearing last month was adjourned because of concerns over his relationship with his girlfriend and the suitability of living with her on his release.

Hawthorn's driving claimed four lives in two separate crashes, and he has convictions for a string of driving-related offences dating back to 1979, including 11 for drink-driving.

In 2004, he was sentenced to 10 years' prison with a minimum non-parole period of six years for the manslaughter of Lance Fryer, 34, who was killed in a high-speed crash in Wairarapa in June 2003.

At last month's hearing the Parole Board was told that Hawthorn wanted to live with his partner, who was present for the hearing, when he was released from prison at the end of his sentence on June 4.

Panel convenor Alan Ritchie noted probation services had raised concerns about the "low signal'' for GPS monitoring at that address.

He said there was also "some concern'' about Hawthorn's relationship.

Hawthorn had been denied parole on three occasions, the last in 2011.

His convictions included 11 for drink-driving, 10 for driving while disqualified, three for dangerous driving and one for careless driving.

At the time of Mr Fryer's death, Hawthorn did not have a driving licence and was in breach of bail conditions which banned him from drinking. He had been drinking on June 3, 2003 before he persuaded Mr Fryer to go with him from Carterton to Wellington so they could visit nightclubs.

On their drive back early the next morning, a police radar clocked Hawthorn at 167km/h on a straight on the Wairarapa side of the Rimutaka Hill road. Police pursued him to Greytown, where he was driving so fast he was unable to stop when a car pulled out in front. Hawthorn lost control of his car, which slammed into a power pole, killing Mr Fryer.

The crash was less than 1km from the scene of his first fatal crash in 1989. The then 26-year-old crashed into an oncoming vehicle, killing his passengers Peter Gay and John Kaukau, and injuring the occupants of the other car.

One of the injured occupants, Bob Stevens, later died of a blood clot after surgery for his injuries.

Hawthorn's history

* 11 drink-drive convictions

* 2 fatal crashes

* 4 people killed


Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 27 Apr 2017 13:50:28 Processing Time: 394ms