Killer and rapist Hayden Taylor denied parole

Nicola Rankin was murdered in September 1996.
Nicola Rankin was murdered in September 1996.

One of New Zealand's most sadistic killers is still refusing to accept responsibility for elements of his crime.

Hayden Taylor has spent more than 17 years in jail, serving dual sentences of life imprisonment and preventive detention after murdering pregnant teenager Nicola Rankin in September 1996 while on bail for raping former street worker Amanda Watt.

Taylor was denied parole at a Parole Board hearing earlier this month.

In a decision released today, the Board said it had reservations about Taylor's failure to take responsibility for sexual elements of his offending.

Taylor maintained there was "no sexual motivation whatsoever" for killing Nicola Rankin, the Board's report said.

However the Board said it did not find Mr Taylor's explanation credible, as it was inconsistent with the evidence.

"If Mr Taylor is genuinely unable to recall the sexual elements of his offending we do not think he should draw the conclusion that there is an innocent explanation for this evidence."

Taylor told the Board he was now a changed man since committing the crimes, but at that time had been selfish and immature, leading a hedonistic lifestyle and engaging in impersonal relationships.

The Board ruled Taylor needed to be tested in a range of situations before they could be satisfied he did not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community.

In its decision the Board took the views of Taylor's victims into account.

"Their lives continue to be deeply affected by Mr Taylor's offending, and they remain opposed to his release," the Board said.

"Obviously parole must be denied today."

Convicted murderer Hayden Taylor. File photo
Convicted murderer Hayden Taylor. File photo

This was Taylor's seventh bid for parole.

In 1996 Taylor forced 18-year-old Rankin to walk into the remote Riverhead Forest, 35km northwest of Auckland, and bludgeoned her to death with a spade.

Her body was found in a shallow grave with her hands bound behind her back and her underwear removed.

Taylor had just been released on bail for a strikingly similar attack on Watt in April, in which he threatened her with a knife, tied her hands behind her back and raped her in his car.

He drove her to Muriwai Beach, where he tried to force her into the sand dunes. However, fearing he would kill her, she managed to persuade him to return to the city.

- APNZ

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