Convicted killer David Tamihere will appear before the Parole Board this month after spending 10 years in jail for murdering Swedish tourists Heidi Paakkonen and Urban Hoglin.



Tamihere, brother of MP John Tamihere, is automatically eligible for parole this month, and the board will hear his case and decide whether he should be freed from Auckland Prison at Paremoremo.



The board has refused to discuss Tamihere's case with the media, but in the past has said that it is unusual for a first application for release to be granted.



Tamihere, who denies killing the Swedes, was sentenced in December 1990 to life imprisonment with a 10-year non-parole period.

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He has a string of other convictions, including the manslaughter in 1972 of 23-year-old Mary Barcham.



Tamihere killed the Auckland stripper when he was aged just 18 by striking her on the head with an air rifle.



He also has sexual assault and assault convictions stemming from attacks on two women in their homes in the 1980s.



Tamihere was on bail when he murdered the young Swedish tourists, who disappeared while tramping on the Coromandel Peninsula in 1989.



Two trampers later identified Tamihere as a man seen with a woman believed to be Ms Paakkonen, aged 21, in a remote clearing on the peninsula.



Tamihere was convicted despite police not finding the couple's bodies, but the case erupted in controversy twice - when 23-year-old Urban Hoglin's body was found 10 months later, and when a prosecution witness attempted to recant his evidence against Tamihere.



Urban Hoglin's body was uncovered 70km from where police alleged the murders took place and was found with a watch police said Tamihere had given to his son.



Tamihere unsuccessfully appealed against his convictions to the Court of Appeal, which ruled that the Crown's evidence provided "convincing circumstantial proof" that he had murdered the couple.



An appeal to the Privy Council for the case to be reopened was lost, and the then Justice Minister, Doug Graham, declined to hold an inquiry into the convictions.



Inspector Gavin Jones of the Auckland police said that although Tamihere was eligible for release, it did not mean he would be granted it.



"This is the first time he has come up."



Mr Jones said police were not planning to present submissions to the hearing, as all information about the Swedes' case and Tamihere's other convictions was before the board.



"I'm absolutely sure that the Parole Board would be well aware of the background to the person they're considering, and then they make a judgment.



"The penalty for murder is life, but under the old provisions, life means 10 years [non-parole].



"The bottom line is he's been convicted, he's been sentenced, he's done his time, he's now going through a process which needs to be followed. It would be very easy to get emotional - all these cases are sad.



"We can't just say he's done 10 years, we think he should have done more. People do their time."



After being sentenced for the couple's murder, Tamihere was found guilty in 1992 of assaulting a 62-year-old woman in her home in 1985, and the circumstances of that attack are expected to be considered at his parole hearing.



A spokeswoman for the Parole Board declined to comment on the hearing, saying no information was released on individual cases.



If Tamihere is denied parole, he will become eligible for another hearing in a year.



- NZPA