By Jimmy Ellingham of RNZ
WARNING: This story contains content some readers may find upsetting.
A man recently released from prison after serving more than 15 years for a gruesome Palmerston North murder has failed to persuade authorities to let him enter the city again.
Ashley Arnopp, who now goes by a different surname, cannot go to the Manawatū city as part of his parole conditions.
Arnopp was released from prison in June, after serving more than 16 years of a life sentence for the December 2006 killing of Stanley Waipouri in a probable homophobic attack.
Arnopp was 19 when he and Andre Gilling, then 17, bashed gay man Stanley Waipouri to death in his flat on Rangitīkei St. The murderers were found at the blood-splattered scene.
Waipouri suffered head, neck and chest injuries, having been beaten for more than an hour.
The tip of his penis was missing, an ear was mutilated and there were bite marks on his nipples, but in court the question of cannibalism was never resolved.
Gilling remains in jail, but Arnopp was released on parole in June. He recently had a progress hearing before the Parole Board in Hāwera.
In a report released to RNZ, the board found on the whole he was doing well, but it refused to grant his request to allow him to go to Palmerston North. Where Arnopp now lives was withheld by the board.
Its report, signed off by chairman Sir Ron Young, said the board tried to tell Arnopp why his request was denied.
“Arnopp ... has a long history of offending in that city. He will have a number of people that he knows who will not be prosocial and, as we have said, the gruesome murder occurred in Palmerston North,” the report said.
“Arnopp struggled to understand that, focusing only on his own interests.”
Arnopp now also went by a different surname, which was redacted from the board report.
He told the board it was because “he owed nothing” to the name Arnopp, and it was not to disguise his offending.
“However, in discussions, he said it was a way of protecting himself from the victims. We doubt those explanations.”
Reports before the board said registered victims in the case supported Arnopp’s release when he was rehabilitated, and they wanted to see him supported so he could prosper on parole.
The board found the name change was to disguise his offending and prevent people knowing of his involvement.
“Once again, Arnopp could not see how his actions might affect the victims. His focus was very much on himself.”
But, Arnopp was overall doing well. Long-term he hoped to move to Whanganui, which the board considered appropriate, partly because it had better employment opportunities.
The board agreed to end a curfew, but Arnopp was still subject to 11 conditions of his release, including that he must live at a property approved by probation and not to contact Gilling.
At a parole hearing attended by RNZ last year Arnopp told the board he would never subject anyone to violence again.
“I was disconnected from life. I didn’t understand myself. I had a lot of anger, a lot of hurt,” he said. “The circumstances on that night were a combination of aggression, drugs and alcohol. That’s just the right amount of ingredients to erupt in a horrific crime.”
Arnopp will have another progress meeting with the board next year.