Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Tomahawk wife killer John Frederick Ericson denied parole again

John Frederick Ericson, who is serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his wife Sandra, has been denied parole.
John Frederick Ericson, who is serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his wife Sandra, has been denied parole.

A man who killed his wife with a tomahawk has again been denied parole.

John Frederick Ericson, 54, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty in 2000 to the murder of his wife, Sandra.

He killed her after striking her in the back of the head with a tomahawk 22 times as she slept in 1999.

Ericson, who was first eligible for parole in 2009, has again been denied a release from prison by the Parole Board, which is not satisfied that he no longer poses an undue risk to the community.

"It is clear that the offence which Mr Ericson committed to bring him a sentence of life imprisonment was very serious. We are mindful that while the risk of further offending may a low possibility, it is of a potentially grave nature," the Parole Board decision says.

A lawyer for Ericson, who in 2007 spent 26 hours on the run after escaping from a Wellington Prison work party, argued that he was working with a psychologist twice a week and that it could continue in the community.

His release proposal suggested that he live at supported accommodation, but the board had concerns about the "fairly short period that Mr Ericson would receive support in the community".

The board also believed that his psychological treatment should be completed before he is released "as this is looking at his offending behaviour and in so doing dealing with the nature and seriousness of any likely subsequent offending".

Parole was declined and Ericson will be seen again by the Parole Board in May next year.

- NZ Herald

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