Winters: it's no to Wilson


Mayor Kevin Winters has vowed to personally contact the head of Corrections should Rotorua be considered as an alternative dumping ground for serial-sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson.

Reports that Corrections could be forced to consider alternative locations for Wilson's parole have emerged after Wanganui District Council launched legal action to prevent the 65-year-old's release into their city.

Mr Winters told The Daily Post he knew Ray White - chief executive of the Corrections Department - quite well.

"And I would certainly be giving him a piece of my mind ... if Rotorua was suggested."

Wilson was jailed in 1996 for multiple crimes against women, children and animals.

He is due for release on parole on August 29 and has so far served 18 years of his 21-year sentence.

Mr Winters said Rotorua residents would probably react in a similar fashion to the Wanganui community - which has vehemently opposed the Parole Board decision to house Wilson in a home on Pauri Rd, near Whanganui Prison, and held three fiery public meetings.

"Reaction of the Rotorua community ... would be a very similar reaction to the Wanganui community's reaction."

However, Victoria University Professor Tony Ward - a clinical psychologist and expert on sexual offenders and their rehabilitation - has said that local body politicians should be doing more to quell fears surrounding Wilson's release.

"I think they have failed the public on this one, creating unnecessary panic and angst."

The Wanganui council, whose application for judicial review alleges the Parole Board failed to properly consider the safety of the community, is expected to be heard on Monday in the High Court at Wellington.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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