A man who sexually assaulted a child in Oamaru after murdering her sleeping mother with an axe is investigating prison release options in the United Kingdom.

Parole has been refused for 63-year-old Anthony Phillip Hitchcock at his latest hearing, with the board outlining what would be necessary for him to go back to his homeland.

In December 1996, Hitchcock was sentenced to life imprisonment with preventive detention for using an axe to murder a 26-year-old woman, and then trying to rape her young daughter, including dragging her around her Oamaru home with a cord around her neck.

He was one of the first people in the country to be given a life sentence and preventive detention.


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The names of the murdered woman and her daughter are permanently suppressed.

Hitchcock is a UK citizen, not a New Zealand citizen, and has family there.

According to a Parole Board report released today, Hitchcock has agreed to investigate possible release there.

The Parole Board report from Chair Sir Ron Young said that he "remains an undue risk".

The report noted that Hitchcock had been working in the kitchen and was attempting to mend broken relationships.

He had also previously undertaken intensive one-on-one psychological counselling.

"He is assessed at being medium/high risk of violent and sexual offending," Young said.


"There has been some improvement in his risk assessment given his age and the health difficulties he has."

He was read a summary of the discussion the board had with the victims prior to his hearing.

Hitchcock said that he was "very sorry" about the offending.

"He wished that he could turn back time but he could not."

As far as his reintegration was concerned, matters had not progressed as he had not identified suitable long-term accommodation.

"We have previously indicated to him that we would be looking for some form of residential programme if we were seriously considering release," Young said.


Hitchcock will be seen again by the end of November 2020.