Mark Middleton's phone has been ringing non-stop since news of his deportation hit headlines.
The 60-year-old got the shock of his life when Immigration NZ officers turned up at his Wellington workplace on Tuesday and told him he was living in the country illegally.
He moved from England with his parents when he was 4 years old in 1962 and hasn't been back since.
He was immediately put in custody and spent the next 36 hours in a cold cell in a Wellington police station.
It appears Middleton's conviction for threatening to kill his stepdaughter's murderer has put him in the sight of Immigration New Zealand.
In 2001, Middleton was sentenced to nine months in prison over threats he made against Paul Joseph Dally, who snatched Karla, 13, from her bike as she rode home from Lower Hutt shops in 1989. Dally raped and tortured Karla for 22 hours before he buried her alive.
But Middleton never served time after the judge suspended the sentenced.
Middleton told the Herald today he's been overwhelmed with the support and feedback.
"My phone went off at 5.30 this morning and it just hasn't stopped ever since. People are just blown away, they can't believe it. I've had offers of help from all over the country.
"I've had calls from overseas, from Canada and Australia. Yeah, so news travels fast."
He said the help had ranged from financial – due to his employer being forced to fire him – to others wanting to help write submissions.
He was humbled to live in such a caring community, he said.
"It's amazing. That's the one single thing in my life that has just absolutely amazed me and blown me away. It makes me feel emotional sometimes because I just think our people here they're quick to lend a hand, we're that kind of people. They've got great hearts our people."
The outpouring of support reminded him from when Karla first went missing.
"In the main as a country I've got to say I've worked alongside a lot of people and honestly I'd go anywhere anytime or any place and do whatever task we've got in hand I know that they've got my back and that's important to me, it really is.
"It is incredibly humbling. The kindnesses that were extended us during the disappearance of Karla were just unbelievable and from all over. How can you ever repay that kindness, you never can, but it makes you feel part of something, it makes you feel like you're part of this community."
As for his conviction, he said he never made the threats because he was a victim, he made them to try and protect the community from his release.
"I didn't stand up for me, you know. Karla was dead and gone, I didn't stand up for me and I didn't stand up because I was a victim, I stood up because I actually care about my community and I care about my family and my friends ... I just didn't want that man getting out because he's too dangerous."
His lawyer Keith Jefferies has today again called on the Government to intervene.
He said the actions of Immigration New Zealand had the flavour of the dawn raids, which were a crackdown on illegal overstayers from the Pacific Islands from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s.
A spokeswoman for Associate Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said no request for ministerial intervention had been received.
Dally has been in prison for almost 28 years and had been refused parole multiple times.