Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Nia Glassie's killer mum ignored strict parole conditions, lived with five children

The mother of murdered toddler Nia Glassie will stay behind bars after it was revealed she was caught living with five young children - despite strict parole conditions that banned her from doing so.

In August the Herald revealed that Lisa Kuka had been recalled to prison after authorities became concerned she was "a risk to the community".

Kuka was jailed for nine years on two counts of manslaughter following the abuse-related death of her 3-year-old daughter Nia's Rotorua in August 2007.

The case remains one of New Zealand's worst examples of child abuse.

Kuka was granted parole in September 2014 and she was ordered to abide by strict conditions until her sentence end-date in October 2017 including obtaining approval from her probation officer before contacting any of her five surviving children or before having any child under the age of 16 stay with her overnight.

In August this year she was recalled to prison and the reason was revealed in a report released by the Parole Board this afternoon.

READ MORE:
Nia Glassie's mother recalled to prison

Kuka appeared before the board on November 1 seeking another early release, but was rejected.

"The fundamental ground for the recall of Ms Kuka was that of residing at an address that was not approved," said board panel convener Judge Michael Crosbie.

"Ms Kuka was not to reside with or have any child under the age of 16 stay with her overnight without the prior written approval of the Probation Officer.

"The address at which she was residing also had five children aged between nine months and 11 years."

At the hearing Kuka addressed the board.

"The board questioned her on a variety of issues including her own characterisation of her breaches as being 'minor errors'," Crosbie said.

"The board stressed to Ms Kuka the importance of complying with the parole conditions, particularly those relating to residence and association with children under the age of 16 years.

"There can be no doubt that Ms Kuka was compliant to a large degree with other aspects of her parole for a considerable period of time.

"However, conditions relating to residence and non-association given the circumstances of her offending and the strict conditions of her release, can on no account be regarded as minor."

Crosbie said the board was concerned because before Kuka was released a whanau hui was held and the conditions of her parole were "fully canvassed".

Kuka said the person she was living with at the address with the five children was "unaware of the parole conditions".

Crosbie criticised Kuka's family in the decision.

He said they had been "collusive, or wilfully blind or not taking the conditions seriously - perhaps a combination of any or all of the above factors".

The board refused parole for Kuka and said they would not see her again before February.

"The board's role is to make an assessment of risk and it ought not release an offender unless it is satisfied that the offender does not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community," Crosbie said.

"The parole conditions that were set were designed to meet the issues of risk identified by the board. The board today identifies those same issues of risk and considers that the release conditions imposed remain appropriate."

Crosbie said it was "of significant concern" that Kuka's family appeared to lack "knowledge of and acceptance" of her release conditions.

"Accordingly, this presents an undue risk to the safety of the community and declines Ms Kuka's release on parole," he said.

Kuka was told at the hearing that the board wanted to hold a further whanau hui where her sponsors including her mother and other relatives were present.

Nia Glassie died on August 3, 2007 from head injuries. She had been in Starship Hospital on life support for 13 days before she passed away.

It later emerged that the toddler had been subjected to horrific ongoing abuse which shocked and angered New Zealanders.

Nia had been put in a clothes dryer spinning for 30 minutes on a hot setting, hung on a clothesline and spun around, held over a burning fire, used to practise wrestling moves, folded into a couch and sat upon, shoved into piles of rubbish and cold baths, dragged half naked through a sandpit, thrown at walls and dropped from heights, and had various objects hurled at her.

Little Nia was also kicked, slapped, beaten and jumped on.

After the fatal attack on Nia in July 2007, believed to be repeated kicks to her head, she was left for 33 hours before medical help was sought.

A jury found Kuka's then-partner Wiremu Curtis and his brother Michael Curtis guilty of Nia's murder.

NIa's cousin Michael Pearson and his partner Oriwa Kemp were found not guilty of manslaughter, but convicted of assaulting the little girl.

Kuka was convicted of two counts of manslaughter - one for failing to provide Nia the necessaries of life and the other for failing to protect the child from violence, thereby causing her death.

The Herald revealed last month that Kemp gave birth to her fourth child recently, and the baby was taken into Child Youth and Family care soon after.

- NZ Herald

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