Our justice system helped kill Nicole Tuxford.
These are extreme and hurtful words to put next to Nicole’s name, but sadly they are true.
She was killed by Paul Wilson, who was on parole after his first killing in 1994.
This is where the Parole Board failed; the Schroder family repeatedly warned the Parole Board not to release Wilson because he would kill again.
The Parole Board was told directly, formally, year after year, that Wilson was going to murder someone if released.
This is where we start to see Corrections at fault, too – its psychologists got it wrong, informing the Board that Wilson was reformed.
Ultimately his release is on the Parole Board, which ignored the family and set Wilson free.
With hindsight it was of course the wrong decision. But to be fair to the Parole Board, hindsight is 20/20. But other parts of the justice system share the blame:
In the 18 months leading up to Nicole’s murder, Corrections had at least three opportunities to go to the Parole Board to try and get him “recalled” to his life sentence – but it didn’t bother.
So he broke his parole conditions.
Police failed badly, too; in 2015 there was a complaint Wilson had been offering women drugs and boasting about Kimberley Schroder’s murder, that led to a violent confrontation.
If this had been passed onto Corrections or the Parole Board, it would almost certainly have seen Wilson recalled to jail – but police did nothing about it.
That definitely was a huge warning sign.
There was a further failure when Wilson was pulled up at a drink-drive checkpoint on the way to kill Nicole.
He was drunk, Police knew he was a convicted murderer on parole, who had used a “cutting weapon” – and they found two huge butcher’s knives in his car.
Again, all of this is enough for a recall application. Under the Parole Act, you don’t even need an arrest, just a belief the parolee is an “undue risk to the community”.
An application like this can be made by either Police or Corrections and is incredibly powerful as it would return Wilson to his life sentence and he would have to apply once a year for parole again.
But they let him go.
The Government must order an independent review of Nicole Tuxford’s case so someone can look at the failings across the board.
This could lead to specific and almost instant changes that improve our management of dangerous offenders and make the public safer – in others words “Safe and Effective Justice”.
The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Justice Minister Andrew Little are both in the position to do this.
They need to do this.
Because if it wasn’t for our justice system – Nicole Tuxford would be alive today.
Not all murders are preventable, but this one was. I agree with Gower.