The man who strangled Lower Hutt woman Kate Alkema to death in 2002 has been refused parole again.

But he claims his attitude towards woman has "significantly changed" and he can now communicate with them "effectively" rather than "aggressively" for the first time in his life.

In 2003 Nika Abraham was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years for murdering Alkema.

The 36-year-old disappeared while walking near her home.

Later than day her brother found her body during a family-organised search.

During Abraham's trial the Crown said Alkema was killed during a sexual attack.

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No semen was found on or near Alkema's strangled body but her clothes had been almost pulled off her.

Nika Abraham being driven to court soon after Kate Alkema was murdered. Photo / file
Nika Abraham being driven to court soon after Kate Alkema was murdered. Photo / file

Abraham later told police he rearranged her clothes to make it look like a sexual attack
but in fact had only wanted to know the thrill of frightening someone.

He said he intended touching her shoulder to get her to scream.

Abraham was 21 at the time of the brutal killing and working as a trainee security guard.

He has been denied parole a number of times - most recently last year.

At that time the board heard that Abraham, now 39, had completed a Maori therapeutic programme in prison alongside psychological counselling.

His conduct in prison is was described as "positive"

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Sir Ron Young - who was a High Court judge at the time of the Alkema murder and sentenced Abraham - said the board questioned the killer about the sexual aspect of the murder.

"We remained concerned about his understanding of why he offended and therefore adequacy of treatment," he said.

"We suggested further work with a psychologist."

Since April 2019 Abraham had completed 21 sessions with a psychologist.

"He told us today that it was continuing," Sir Ron said.

"As to his explanation for removing and disturbing some of the victim's clothing after he killed her, Mr Abraham continues to say that there was no sexual element.

"He says that he exposed her body as a way of degrading the victim as he had felt degraded by his family, particularly the women in his family.

"He had felt unwanted by them and had been rejected by both his family and his in-laws, particularly the women in those families.

"He said that he wanted the victim to feel unwanted as he had been unwanted."

Sir Ron said the board had no views to express on Abraham's actions, but recorded his response.

A police forensic specialist performs a grid search near the Hutt River banks where murdered woman Kate Alkema's body was discovered.
A police forensic specialist performs a grid search near the Hutt River banks where murdered woman Kate Alkema's body was discovered.

"He says… that he had a lifetime of being hostile to women as a result of the actions of females within his family," he said in the latest parole decision, released to the Herald this week.

"He says that in recent years his view of women has significantly changed.

"It has changed because of the work he has been doing with the psychologist and the extensive contact he has had with women in prison.

"He has changed from someone who could not speak to women, but if he did he would speak aggressively, to someone who was able to communicate effectively with females."

Sir Ron said Abraham's claim about his communication with women was confirmed by a senior prison officer, and family members.

He also addressed Abraham on another concerning element of the offending.

After his arrest for the murder he admitted following another woman.

He explained to police that he was inspired by the Friday the 13th horror movies, and "wanted to hear a woman scream".

"During the course of our discussion today with Mr Abraham he was asked whether he had followed anyone else, including the victim, before the murder," said Sir Ron of the February parole hearing.

"He said he had not done so. However, we have notes from our previous discussions in 2015 with Mr Abraham, which said that he had previously followed another person about a month before.

"He had followed her from the train station to Melling Bridge in Lower Hutt.

"We express our concern about this because Mr Abraham does have a history of lying about the circumstances of this crime, in particular, his confession and retraction and the writing and presentation of letters during the course of his trial.

Sir Ron said that matter was raised in the hope that the prison psychologist could look at the issue as part of Abraham's ongoing treatment.

"It would be of interest to us to have a further report on that aspect," he said in the parole decision.

He confirmed Abraham had been on a number of shopping trips in the community and six guided releases.

He was also participating in the release to work programme.

"He has told us that the psychologist has said that he could stop seeing her but says that he wants to continue in the meantime," Sir Ron said.

"We think two aspects require further testing with Mr Abraham.

"Firstly, he has only been on release to work relatively recently and we would like a further period to continue to test him.

"Secondly, his change in attitude and approach to women and the way in which he sees women is also relatively recent. Again a further period of testing will be valuable"

In the meantime, said Sir Ron, Abraham remained an undue risk to the community.

He was denied parole, but will be seen again by the end of August for the board to reassess.