RSA getaway driver granted parole

By Abby Gillies

Darnell Tupe is to be released from jail. Photo / NZ Herald
Darnell Tupe is to be released from jail. Photo / NZ Herald

The getaway driver for RSA triple murderer William Bell has been granted parole.

Darnell Kere Tupe, 33, received parole with a curfew and residential restrictions at his most recent hearing.

He was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment after being found guilty on three charges of manslaughter and one of aggravated robbery, following the December 2001 killings of three people at the Mt Wellington-Panmure RSA.

Bell bashed part-time accountant Susan Couch so badly she nearly died, before killing club president William Absolum, 63, member Wayne Johnson, 56, and cleaner Mary Hobson.

Tupe waited in the car outside while his associate committed triple murder but took off early.

His sentence was due to end on December 14 2013, and has previously been denied parole three times.

In its decision, the Parole Board said it was satisfied Tupe "poses no undue risk to the safety of the community''.

The aggravated robbery resulted in the "violent deaths of three good people at the hands of William Bell'', the Parole Board report said.

In prison Tupe had completed completed Maori therapeutic and medium-intensity rehabilitation programmes

As part of his parole conditions, Tupe must stay at an approved address, meet a curfew, take part in counselling and not contact his co-offender or any victims of his offending.

At a hearing in October, his parole application was declined but the board noted Tupe was "well on his way in his reintegration back into the community''.

Ms Couch, who lost almost 80 per cent of her blood when she was brutally bashed by Bell, a former employee at the club, said last year she was struggling with the "inevitability'' of Tupe's release.

While in prison he has also learned to read and write and completed a alcohol and drug course.

Prison had "nothing more to offer'', said the report.

"He acknowledges the devastation caused to the lives of those affected by his offending and expresses profound remorse for his actions. He is low security,'' it said.


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