Convicted murderer Colin Bouwer remains defiant about his role in the death of his wife Annette.

The New Zealand Parole Board yesterday granted Bouwer, 67, parole, meaning he will be deported to his native South Africa upon his release.

Bouwer's lawyer, David More, said he maintained that the death of his wife was an assisted suicide as part of an agreement between the pair, if either ever developed a fatal condition.

Bouwer also expressed that view to the parole board during his hearing last Wednesday.


"Mr Bouwer was challenged on his current stance in relation to the murder," the board said in its decision, released yesterday.

"It is fair to say that not all of his answers seemed compelling, but we were left in no doubt that he accepts responsibility for his actions and acknowledges that his actions were wrong."

Bouwer was jailed in 2001 after being found guilty of administering a fatal combination of sedatives and hypoglycaemia-inducing drugs to his wife for months. The drugs mimicked the symptoms of a rare tumour.

The former head of psychological medicine at the University of Otago was jailed with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years.

At the trial, the court heard Bouwer had begun administering the drugs after starting an affair with a work colleague.

Last year, More said Bouwer had signalled an intention to appeal the murder conviction to the Privy Council.

However, he no longer had any appetite for that, More said yesterday and was happy to be returned to South Africa.

His Dunedin-based son was also pleased with the outcome, he said.


Bouwer initially appealed the conviction to the Court of Appeal in June 2002. However, the Crown appealed the sentence, which resulted in two years being added to his non-parole period.

Bouwer maintained he was innocent of murder, although he accepted he was responsible for the death of his wife.

"Essentially, assisted suicide is his position," More said.

The board ruled Bouwer was no longer an undue risk to the community.

A psychologist found he was a low risk of further violent offending or any offending, the board said.

"The psychologist also commented on a diagnosis of stage 4 chronic kidney disease with a moderate deterioration in renal function over the past 12 months," the board's decision said.

"During the psychological assessment, Mr Bouwer was said to have continued to maintain a belief that his wife was suffering from an undetected debilitating illness and that his actions in killing her had been a result of a prior agreement between him and his wife that, should either of them develop a terminal illness, the other would assist the ending of life.

"However, in line with previous reports, Mr Bouwer had acknowledged that while he disagreed with official information, particularly relating to his motives in causing the death, he had intentionally taken his wife's life which he viewed as a criminal act. In discussion with the psychologist Mr Bouwer had become tearful and expressed shame and guilt associated with his behaviour."

Once returned to South Africa, Bouwer would stay with family.

"Looking at all of the information in front of us, we are satisfied that there is not undue risk to the community in South Africa given the nature of Mr Bouwer's release proposals."

Bouwer would be released into the custody of police or Immigration New Zealand, which would then assist with his deportation.

He was due to be released on October 11, but could be freed earlier if travel arrangements allowed.

His parole conditions included a life-long ban from returning to New Zealand.

Attempts to contact family and others involved in the case were unsuccessful yesterday.

Where to get help

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)