The only suspect in the notorious slaying of father of two Scott Guy has been released from prison on day leave to work on a remote farm.
Ewen Macdonald - described by a psychiatrist as having "a significant personality disturbance" - is days away from seeking freedom, tabling a release plan involving his taking a job on a Canterbury farm.
As he prepares to face the Parole Board early next month, the Herald on Sunday can reveal he has been enjoying day leave from Rolleston Prison to work on the farm.
In August 2012 he was jailed for five years for damaging property owned by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Scott and Kylee Guy, and other crimes.
That came just two months after he was found not guilty of the murder of Scott, who was gunned down in his Feilding driveway on July 8, 2010. Police say they have no other suspects.
Macdonald's ex-wife, Anna, said she realised that he could be released at "any time", and said if he was to be freed she hoped it would be a long way away from her new family base in Auckland.
"I think distance from the family is a good thing," she said.
A source told the Herald on Sunday this week Macdonald had completed all the programmes and assessments previously recommended by the Parole Board.
"He's been working on a farm - he does a day's work and goes back inside."
Macdonald last appeared before the Parole Board on November 25, last year.
The hearing received a submission from a psychiatrist who stated Macdonald had "a significant personality disturbance".
While Macdonald was deemed to fall "within the low-risk category for future violent and general recidivism", the report added there were strong clinical reasons to upgrade his risk such as "his history of deceptive and secretive behaviour..."
The report added: "From a clinical perspective, motivation by revenge and disinhibition by narcissistic personality traits are characteristically resistant to change and are especially unlikely to change with brief therapeutic approaches."
Mum-of-five Anna said she had little contact with MacDonald these days. "I just don't want to be linked with him any more," she added.
"He phones the children every 10 days and they visit him twice a year."
But Anna said she believed the visits were disturbing for their children.
"I find it's quite unsettling for them going down to see their dad. I mean it's not a normal place to go and visit someone. Prison isn't a place for children."
The police investigation into the killing remains open.
Private investigators believe they have uncovered fresh evidence in mystery phone calls made to Scott Guy on the eve and day of his killing. They have sent cellphone data to experts in the UK for analysis.
Last year Anna and the four children she had with Macdonald moved to Auckland to start a new life with her partner, Brent Jameson, a marketing executive.
This year the couple celebrated the birth of their first child together, a daughter Ruby, now aged 7 months.
Although she said she didn't fear for her safety Anna stressed she didn't want Macdonald anywhere near her once released.
Meanwhile, Anna said although she and her children missed being surrounded by their family in Manawatu, their shift to Auckland was the fresh start they needed.
But she said marrying Jameson was not yet on the horizon.
"We haven't even talked about it. So much has happened in the last two years; finding a house, moving up, having Ruby. It's been go, go, go."