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Stewart Wilson pleads not guilty to breaching parole

By Jehan Casinader in Wanganui

Published: 7:12AM Friday February 22, 2013

Serial sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson will remain in custody for three months, after pleading not guilty to a charge of breaching his parole conditions.

The Department of Corrections alleges that Wilson has obtained a cellphone and is a "man of many resources".

A probation officer alleges that on February 18 Wilson contacted a woman he had been instructed not to contact under a non-association order.

ONE News understands the woman had initiated contact with Wilson but his reply is believed to have caused her to contact the Corrections Department last November.

It is understood the woman, who has name suppression, does not live in Wanganui.

Yesterday, Wilson was recalled to prison on an interim basis by the Parole Board.

Wilson appeared in the Whanganui District Court this morning and pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He was neatly presented, wearing a suit and tie. He stood in the dock with his hands clasped through the hearing.

Wilson's lawyer argued that he has complied with other parole conditions, and that he should not be permanently recalled to prison.

However Judge Cameron ruled that Wilson will remain in custody until May 13, when he will face a defended hearing.

"Can't be trusted"

Meanwhile campaigners who fought to keep Wilson behind bars say his alleged breach of parole proves he can't be trusted.

Wanganui Mayor Annette Main said she was pleased the alleged breach had not affected anyone in the Wanganui community. 

"It's good that the Corrections Department has taken the steps that they have but also to be expected people have said 'well I told you this would happen'," Main said.

Wanganui councillor and former mayor Michael Laws said the man dubbed the Beast of Blenheim was always going to reoffend.

"This is a dream come true in lots of ways because no one appears to have been seriously hurt," Laws told ONE News.

Wilson's neighbour Peter Vervoek says nobody ever wants to have a man like Wilson in their backyard and there's always some concern for family members.

"It's better if he's behind bars," Vervoek said.

But Wilson's lawyer Andrew McKenzie said even if his client did make the phone call that does not make him a danger to the community.

"He can't go and visit the person, he can't have the person come to see him," McKenzie said.

"It's difficult to see what the harm could be or what disadvantage or risk to the community it could pose."

Multiple offences

Wilson was jailed for 21 years in 1996 after being convicted on 22 sex charges against women and children between 1971 and 1994.

The 65-year-old was released on August 29 into a self-care unit on Whanganui Prison land, before moving to a relocated home nearby.

Corrections assistant general manager Maria McDonald said the department has been "vigilantly monitoring" Wilson's compliance with his parole conditions, which are some of the strictest ever imposed in New Zealand.