One of NZ's worst killers, Raymond Ratima, denied parole, remains risk

Source: 1News

One of New Zealand's worst killers, Raymond Ratima, has been denied parole and is still considered to to be an undue risk.

The 54-year-old, who is at Rolleston Prison, was convicted in 1992 of seven murders, attempted murder and murder of an unborn child, in Masterton. Three of the victims were his own children. 

The New Zealand Parole Board convened this month for Ratima's first parole hearing in years.

However, the board's decision released on Monday comes after the killer stressed throughout his hearing that he loved his children and killed them so they were "in a better place".

"Overall, therefore, we were not especially confident that Mr Ratima had truly understood the circumstances under which he came to kill these members of his family including, not just his own children, but the babysitter, partner, and others," board chairman Ron Young said.

It comes despite 96 sessions with a psychologist between 2013 and 2016, positive reports on his employment working on the prison site and Corrections saying he no longer needs rehabilitative work.

"Overall Mr Ratima has worked hard on his reintegration within the prison and is to be commended for the work he has done," Young said.

But added: "There are several issues that are of concern to us."

One other concern is that Ratima has rekindled a relationship with a "fragile" woman of his past.

"Mr Ratima says that he now is in a relationship. The relationship is with a woman that he knew as boyfriend and girlfriend in their very young teens. They ended that relationship when he was 13yrs or 14yrs he told us," Young said.

"They met again when he was on a guided release about four years ago and there have been regular visits and telephone contact between the woman and Mr Ratima. 

"It is no exaggeration to say that the woman that Mr Ratima is in a relationship with is fragile. She had a childhood trauma that caused or contributed to a serious drug addiction."

The board noted that the woman seemed to have made a good life since that time, but added some of her comments to the probation officer were of concern, including relating to the murders where she said "there are two sides to all issues".

"We raised with Mr Ratima the appropriateness of developing such a relationship in prison given the events of the murder occurred when his relationship had fallen apart. Mr Ratima stressed that this relationship was different and that he was also supported by her family," Young said.

"The stress of daily living has never been part of their relationship. And the woman has troubled past and seems to be vulnerable."

These reasons are among why the board decided Ratima is better to focus on his own reintegration.

"We think further work needs to be done with regard to his understanding of the reasons why he has offended and the risks arising from it and what the connection might be between that and any new relationship," Young said.

But there are concerns their relationship is "untested".

"Mr Ratima seemed to us to be unable to understand the worrying connections between the past and his current situation."

The Parole Board will next see Ratima in October next year.