The man found guilty of the murder of deaf woman Emma Agnew and the rape and attempted murder of a Dunedin student was on a court-imposed supervision sentence at the time he committed the crimes.
Hamilton-born Liam James Reid had breached the supervision three times in less than four months. He also had been found not guilty, in 2002, of raping and attempting to murder another woman.
Reid, 36, who changed his name from Julian Heath Edgecombe, was sentenced in the Dunedin District Court on July 31 last year to community work and nine months of supervision for, among other charges, preparing to commit a crime.
He failed to appear in the Dunedin District Court on November 27, three days after he raped and tried to murder the Dunedin woman and 12 days after the murder of Emma Agnew. A warrant for his arrest was issued that day.
Corrections' assistant general manager of community probation and psychological services, Tracy Mellor, said a condition imposed as part of last year's sentence was that Reid was to attend counselling to the satisfaction of a probation officer.
He was given a written warning in September last year for breaching supervision, and after further breaches court action was taken against him in October and November, the same month he committed the crimes.
Reid was instructed to report to a probation officer every fortnight.
Ms Mellor said the department could do little when people breached supervision.
People under supervision were "in the community free to move around as they will", she said.
The service tried to identify if the offender posed any escalating risk to the public.
"There is little we can do directly," she said.
Act leader Rodney Hide said last night that under his party's "three strikes and you're out" policy, Reid would still have been in prison at the time of the latest offences. "Emma Agnew would still be alive."
Reid, born on July 21, 1972, had a troubled upbringing including being abandoned by his parents.
He lived with his grandparents until he was 15, when he was asked to leave the home. Reid changed his name between 2005 and 2007, after the Sensible Sentencing Trust listed him on its database of offenders, police said.
Reid has had numerous clashes with the law, including beating fellow prisoners in extremely violent attacks, assault, possessing unlicensed firearms and making threats to kill.
In 2005, he unsuccessfully sued the Attorney-General for $40,000 compensation for "hurt feelings" after a Paparua prison officer cuffed him around the head.
Reid had abused prison guard Warren Aranga and threatened to kill another officer.