It was a gruesome crime. In 2005, Teresa Gunn and boyfriend Andrew Grabner were brutally killed when Gunn's jealous former partner, Jason Reihana, stormed into her Tauranga home and went on a stabbing spree. Reihana was convicted of their murders in 2007 and sentenced to life, with a non-parole period of 21 years. But Reihana is out after serving only 12 of those 21 years, on compassionate grounds - and Gunn's family are furious. Reporter Kiri Gillespie finds out what the Department of Corrections is doing about it and how Teresa's father thinks it might help grieving families in the future.
The father of murder victim Teresa Gunn will meet with the Department of Corrections today in the hope his ordeal will help other families in the future.
The department phoned Dave Gunn after his story was published in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend on Saturday.
The story revealed Gunn's anger that his daughter's killer Jason Reihana was released from prison seven years early on compassionate grounds.
The double-murderer had been sentenced to 21 years non-parole for the killing of Teresa and her boyfriend Andrew Grabner.
Reihana has leukaemia and was released into a neighbouring suburb to Gunn. However, no one told Gunn or his family, despite their request to be included on the Victim Notification Register which would have ensured their notification.
Today, Gunn will meet with a senior representative from the Department of Corrections.
"They are very apologetic," Gunn said.
While Gunn was doubtful Reihana would be returned to prison, he hoped his ordeal "might stop it happening to other people".
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"I won't be able to get him returned to prison but maybe we can put more restrictions on his [release]. I want to make sure that our family is safe," Gunn said.
The family has now been put on the victim's register but Gunn said he would like to see more done to ensure friends and family members of murder victims were always notified of release decisions, regardless of if they were on a list.
"It might take a bit more work but at least it will be a safeguard," Gunn said.
Department of Corrections operations director Louise Wood confirmed regional commissioner Terry Buffery apologised to Gunn when he spoke with him on Saturday, "in recognition of the resulting distress caused to him".
"I will be reiterating that apology when I meet him," Wood said.
"We are now urgently reconsidering the suitability of [Reihana's] address," she said.
Wood said it was important to note the release decision sat with the parole board. The Department of Corrections is responsible for managing the conditions the board imposes.
Wood said she planned to answer any questions Gunn might have relating to the management of Reihana, now he was released.
"This will include the processes we undertake when providing advice to the New Zealand Parole Board and to ascertain if there is anything we at Corrections can do to further address his concerns."
A spokeswoman for the New Zealand Parole Board said no one was available to comment before publication yesterday.