A man jailed for sexually abusing and killing a five-year-old girl in Napier in 2010 still has "considerable work" to do before he can be let out into the community, pyschologists say.

Former Whanganui man Kerry Charles Ratana was denied parole in his first appearance before the Parole Board since he was found guilty in 2012 of sexually abusing the step-daughter he had already admitted killing.

Although he pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter, Ratana, 32, denied sexually abusing his former partner's daughter Sahara Jayde Baker-Koro.

He's serving a total sentence of 16 years and six months' imprisonment.

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Ratana has a total of 44 convictions - including eight for violent offending and although he's in the first phase of a drug treatment programme the parole board said he still posed a "high risk of sexual and violent re-offending".

The Kia Marama child sex offender treatment programme was also recommended as a pathway for Ratana, although the psychologist noted his denial of responsibility for the sexual offending.

"There is considerable work for Mr Ratana to complete. After the Drug Treatment Programme, the Board supports his referral to the psychologist and then to the Kia Marama Programme."

The offending relates back to December 2010 when Ratana was looking after Sahara, her seven-year-old sister, and the couple's two-year-old son while his partner was at a Christmas celebration.

Kerry Ratana denied sexually violating step-daughter Sahara Baker-Koro in 2010. Photo / File
Kerry Ratana denied sexually violating step-daughter Sahara Baker-Koro in 2010. Photo / File

When his partner returned home after 10pm, Sahara was dead in her bed, with her sister asleep in the same room.

But the mother, presuming the children were all asleep, having supper and then resting on a mattress in the lounge, knew nothing of the horror on the other side of the wall until she heard Ratana in a distressed phone discussion with his father.

Suddenly fearful about what might have happened, she found the "cold" body of Sahara, and told the court this week that when she screamed at Ratana "What have you done?"

He said he had raped the girl, and he was sorry.

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He later denied any sexual abuse, or even that he had said he had raped her.