Wilson describes 'mental terror' in open letter

By Laurel Stowell of the Wanganui Chronicle -
Stewart Murray Wilson, after his release from prison. File photo / Herald On Sunday
Stewart Murray Wilson, after his release from prison. File photo / Herald On Sunday

An open letter to the Wanganui Chronicle from sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson outlines his time living in the grounds of Whanganui Prison under the strictest conditions imposed on a paroled New Zealand prisoner.

The letter, received last week, includes points he made at his Parole Board hearing on March 27 when he was returned to prison for alleged breaches of parole conditions.

In the letter, he says he was told to stay out of sight, and not to talk to prisoners or prison officers.

He claims he was not allowed to use the front door on his visits to the Probation Service, and at a doctor's visit he had two minders, one in the doctor's surgery and one outside the door.

His minders made notes and questioned him about events during their fishing trips. On bushwalks one walked ahead of him and one behind.

He alleges that probation people were "told to run interference" on his phone if anyone talked to him, and they stayed in the room and talked while church people visited his house and gave him communion.

His says his mail was opened, and he was told it was "by mistake" and to accept that.

When he told someone they had a wonderful smile he was told such comments were inappropriate.

He claims he was asked questions about his parents, with "the inference that they were bad people, and how they threatened me in childhood".

He had to do his shopping at Countdown at 6.45am, and could only visit a fishing store or service station with prior permission.

"The comments and continual questioning kept mental terror in my mind," Wilson writes.

"I kept busy in the garden, talking to the magpies, the swallows, the ladybirds, the weeds, daddy long legs and spiders.

"The above is because I was left alone 20 hours a day with no one to talk to."

Asked to comment on the actions of probation officers, Corrections Services deputy national commissioner Maria McDonald said that was not possible because Corrections had charges against Wilson that had not been heard yet.

"Community safety is our priority and Corrections vigilantly monitored Mr Wilson's adherence to the conditions imposed by the Parole Board.

"There are also his victims to consider. There are a high number of them in our community and publication of such material cannot be seen to be of any benefit to them," she said.

Wilson's letter says the Parole Board is grasping at straws to justify keeping him in custody.

But the three-member board, which included a High Court judge, was in no doubt about the necessity of recalling him to prison.

He had allegedly breached an order not to associate with a particular woman by telephoning her. He was also showing signs of the "planned manipulation and then exploitation of vulnerable women" for which he was convicted.

Wilson still posed an "undue risk to the safety of the community", the board members said, and they made the recall permanent as a result.

He has been back in prison since March 27, and was found to have $4000 on his person when recalled.

His sentence finishes in 2015, but he will have other chances to apply for parole before then.

The charges that Corrections has brought against him relate to the allegation that he phoned a person he had been directed not to have contact with, Ms McDonald said.

The case is to be heard in Wanganui District Court on May 13.

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