Parole denied for convicted murderer who violently assaulted another female partner

Source: 1News

A convicted murderer who went on to violently assault another female partner must stay behind bars because of the risk he could do it again.

John Tanner

The Parole Board said John Tanner, 49, of Whanganui had yet to address the factors which led to his violence against intimate partners. 

Tanner was convicted of murdering Oxford University student Rachel McLean in 1991. He strangled his 19-year-old girlfriend and hid her body under the floorboards of her flat. 

Tanner was sentenced to life imprisonment and served 12 years in prison in England before being deported back to New Zealand to live with family in Whanganui. 

He was back in court last year charged with a series of violent attacks against his partner of nine months. The Whanganui District Court heard that in one attack, Tanner placed his hands around the woman’s neck, restricting her breathing. When the woman told Tanner she was leaving him, he responded by saying he would kill her. 

The woman was hit and punched around the head in two other violent assaults before Tanner was arrested and charged. The Crown said the woman had been reluctant to see Tanner prosecuted on some of the charges and was standing by him. He was sentenced last August to serve two years and nine months in prison.

Appearing in front of the Parole Board last month, Tanner accepted there needed to be "a cautious approach to the resumption of his relationship with his victim".

But he complained that he had only recently been approached about seeing a psychologist, and then his appointment to discuss treatment had been cancelled. 

He believed it was "unfair" and a 'burden" to have to remain in prison when he could undergo counselling while on parole.

The Board said Tanner presented as a highly intelligent and very articulate person but could not explain why he offended, or how he would overcome that.

"It is clear to us that notwithstanding his high intellectual level of understanding, there is still a worrying concern about how and why in the heat of the moment he reacts to a tense situation of the type that occurred in this case."

The Board recommended Tanner undergo counselling with a psychologist while in prison, to "target the specific factors which predispose (Tanner) to perpetrate intimate partner violence".

Until then he was a risk to his present victim and any other people he formed an intimate relationship with in future.