Convicted wife killer Colin Bouwer has spent time in hospital for his as-yet undisclosed health issues, a Parole Board decision reveals.

Bouwer appeared before the board last month and asked for parole to be declined.

The former head of psychological medicine at the University of Otago in Dunedin is serving a life sentence for murdering his wife, Annette, by administering a cocktail of drugs intended to mimic the symptoms of a rare tumour, between September 1999 and her unexpected death on January 5, 2000.

In September 2001, he was jailed for a minimum non-parole period of 13 years. That was increased to 15 years following an appeal by the Crown.


Claims of Bouwer's illness emerged in April this year when his lawyer, David More, said an appeal to the Privy Council against his conviction for murder had not been launched because Bouwer "isn't well at the moment''.

The details and extent of the illness have not been disclosed publicly. However, the board's decision, released today, reveals that it had resulted in periods of him being hospitalised.

Bouwer is subject to a deportation order and will be returned to his native South Africa upon release. But the decision also reveals he has sought to have that order cancelled because of his health.

"Because he has suffered significant health issues during the past year, which have required periods of hospitalisation and ongoing treatment, Mr Bouwer has instructed his counsel to apply to the Minister ... to cancel his liability for deportation,'' the decision said.

"Until that matter is resolved, and pending further medical treatment, he did not seek parole.''

Bouwer is also on a wait-list for psychological treatment, a recommendation when he appeared before the board in September last year.

"There is no question of parole today,'' the board's decision said. "It is declined.''

The board will require an updated psychological report, a release plan regarding his accommodation and plans for employment - especially in relation to South Africa if he is still to be deported - and reports from clinicians about his health detailing his medical conditions and treatment.

Bouwer will next appear before the board in September next year.

His bid for parole was also declined by the board in 2015, as he remained an undue risk to the community.

However, Bouwer claimed at that hearing he was innocent of murder and would be launching an appeal with the Privy Council against his conviction, saying his original defence case was wrong.

He told the board at last year's hearing that he assisted his wife to commit suicide when she became ill as part of a pact between them.

Bouwer's illness then came to light when it emerged that no appeal had been launched because of his health issues.

Following his wife's death in 2000, Bouwer travelled to South Africa and returned bald and without his trademark beard.

He told people the changes were a result of chemotherapy he had for prostate cancer. It emerged that story was false.