Runaway prisoner Phillip John Smith has been denied parole.

The murderer and child sex offender had a parole hearing today in a fresh bid to be allowed out of prison - something family of his victims are fighting against.

Smith was jailed in 1995 for 13 years for murdering the father of a 12-year-old Wellington boy Smith had been sexually abusing. At the time he was on bail facing child molestation charges.

Today's parole hearing was Smith's 12th. The boy's aunty, known as Lynda, earlier told the Herald she wouldn't be at the hearing but was vehemently against his release.


It will be another two years before Smith is up for parole, in April 2022.

Lynda today told the Herald her family was emotional after hearing the news.

They were grateful they would not have to relive the nightmare in a year's time, but had hoped Smith would not reappear before the Parole Board for another five years, she said.

Phillip Smith was jailed 13 years for murder in 1995. Photo / File
Phillip Smith was jailed 13 years for murder in 1995. Photo / File

Smith is being held in low security at Upper Hutt's Rimutaka Prison, following legal proceedings where he argued being held in maximum security at Auckland Prison was a breach of his human rights. He has a job in the library.

"Him being in Rimutaka is too close for comfort. We have been let down by the police, Corrections, the Parole Board, time and time again," Lynda earlier told the Herald.

"If Smith wasn't out on bail my brother would still be here. Smith is a devious psychopath who got into my nephew's head. He told the boy 'if you are going to tell anybody I am going to come and kill your family'.

"He certainly followed up with the threat. He killed the boy's father, my youngest brother took his own life and my mother died suddenly from a broken heart," Lynda said.

Her nephew recently moved back to New Zealand with his family and still sleeps with a weapon under his bed.

Photo / File
Photo / File

By the age of 15, Smith had his first conviction for dangerous driving. This was followed by driving while disqualified, theft, presenting a firearm, assault, wilful damage, attempted arson, receiving stolen property, cultivating cannabis, and fraud.

His convictions were entered under the name Phillip John Smith, which is not his birth name. In 2006, Smith started making false Working for Families tax credit claims to the Inland Revenue Department using other prisoners' names. Most of them were unaware and he collected more than $40,000 until the fraud was detected.

Lynda's brother, his wife, and their two sons moved into the same street as Smith in Carterton.

Smith befriended the oldest boy and the pair enjoyed trail bike riding, karate, and playing computer games. But in 1995 the parents were shattered to learn Smith had sexually abused their 10-year-old son for three years. They packed their bags and moved to a safehouse in Wellington.

Smith was granted bail, but two weeks later was behind bars again charged with extortion.

He had blackmailed an Auckland businessman, who committed suicide.

Incredibly Smith escaped custody, was recaptured, and bailed again.

Phillip Smith's long history of terrifying and abusive behaviour
Murderer Phillip John Smith fights Corrections over media visit
Phillip Smith: The $1m runaway prisoner up for parole
Phillip John Smith media visit decision unreasonable

The then 21-year-old tracked down the family of the boy he abused and staked out their home, armed with a hunting knife and a rifle he had hidden. He hid in the family's laundry for about five hours and cut the phone lines.

He crept into the victim's bedroom and stood over him with a knife. The boy's screams woke his parents and his father ran to his rescue. Smith stabbed the man multiple times in front of his wife.

The boy managed to escape and ran to the police station but Smith's reign of terror didn't stop there.

At gunpoint, Smith held the boy's mother and brother hostage before eventually giving up. He was convicted of murder, as well as a raft of other serious charges, and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 13 years.

Nine hours after walking out of Spring Hill Prison on temporary release in 2014, he boarded a flight to Chile. Although he was a convicted murderer, he passed through airport security without a hitch, declaring $10,000 as spending money.

Smith has cost the taxpayer close to $1 million taking court cases against the Department of Corrections, the Herald earlier reported.

His efforts have costed more than $890,000 in taxpayer money for cases including a claim that he should be allowed to wear a wig - the balding Smith was only banned from wearing it after it formed part of his disguise when he fled to South America while on temporary release in 2014.

Lynda earlier told The Herald she was scared that if Smith is released from prison she could be at risk.

"I am the only sibling left and I fear he will come after me if he escapes prison again or if he is released. One time when he was on remand he phoned us and said, 'I am going to get you.' I have been saying to the Parole Board for years, he is a clever, cunning psychopath, with no soul.

"It's because of him I have lost my whole family. I want my family to live their lives without having to look over their shoulders. I will keep fighting to make sure he stays inside. He doesn't deserve to breathe and I don't want him to think I have gone away because I haven't - I won't till the day I die and I hope that's well after him."