No parole for man who murdered Colleen Burrows 30 years ago

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Colleen Burrows
Colleen Burrows

A man serving a life sentence for the murder of a Napier teenager 30 years ago has again been denied parole.

Sam Te Hei, now 55, was one of two men convicted of the rape and murder of 16-year-old Colleen Burrows whose body was found on a riverbank on the outskirts of Napier on the morning of June 19, 1987, about the same time as the unrelated abduction of 6-year-old Teresa Cormack just a few kilometres away in suburban Maraenui.

Under legislation at the time, both men were eligible apply for parole after 10 years and the second convicted man was released in 1998.

Te Hei had, however, also in 1997 been convicted along with brother Warren Te Hei on a charge of attempted murder relating to an attack on a fellow inmate at maximum security Paremoremo prison, for which he was sentenced to 12 years.

In a bizarre turn he was in 2000 one of nine prisoners awarded compensation collectively totalling over $300,000 for ill-treatment at the hands of prison officers.

The killing of Ms Burrows, in an attack in which she was kicked and run over by a car after refusing to have sex, happened within the gang environment and in its latest decision the Parole Board says Te Hei remains a high risk of reoffending with his gang affiliations.

Te Hei had had some time in the past on monitored release to work but while psychologists observed some signs which could lead to eventual reintegration he was considered likely to meet some of the criteria for diagnosed psychopathy.

He will now have another opportunity to apply for parole next year.

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