Terminally-ill inmate Vicki Letele was ignored by a nurse and a guard when she called out in distress early this morning, her mother has alleged.

Letele, 35, has asked for an early release from a three year and two month sentence for fraud because she is dying of cancer.

The Parole Board decided the mother-of-three, who has served eight months of her sentence, does not meet the exceptional circumstances test for early release, but Corrections has agreed to review the decision. The outcome is expected next week.

Her mother, Tui Letele, spoke to Radio New Zealand today about her daughter's plight.


Vicki Letele told her mother she had, in pain and unable to move, called for help at 4am today, but neither the nurse nor guard responded.

"The ladies that share the house with her came out. The guard and the nurse are asleep. My daughter didn't get seen to till 7.30am."

Corrections was not able to respond to the Herald before deadline tonight, but in another RNZ interview, Corrections Northern region commissioner Jeanette Burns said the allegation was being investigated.

"Until we know absolutely whether that's true or not we've put some additional measures in place from this evening to make sure there's absolutely no delay in her getting the pain medication that she requires."

Opiates, such as morphine, were available in prison and could be administered by a registered nurse, with one on duty at all times, Burns said.

Vicki Letele was being managed in a compassionate way and her needs were being met, she said.

Other measures taken included increasing visiting hours for her family, and daily assessments by a team of clinical experts.

"When it comes to a point our clinical people tell us they don't believe we can give her the level of care she requires, then another application can be made to the parole board."


It was still believed that Vicki Letele, who was jailed for mortgage fraud, was at risk of reoffending, Burns said.