Sentenced to Preventive Detention today at Wellington High Court for attempted murder, Stephen Williams is New Zealand’s 11th Third Striker and joins an even rarer club – those sentenced to Preventive Detention on two separate occasions – barely separated in time by just 18 months.
Williams is a child killer – of 6 year old Coral-Ellen Burrows in 2003. But that wasn’t his first strike – as Three Strikes came into effect 6 years later – in 2010, and was not retrospective.
All three of Williams’ subsequent strike offences have been attacks on fellow prisoners – either attempted murders or very close to it. The sentences have been as follows:
1st strike – wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm – 5 years, 8 months imprisonment
2nd strike – attempted murder – Preventive Detention with a 10 year minimum non-parole period
3rd strike – attempted murder – Preventive Detention with a 14 year minimum non-parole period
Had the Judge not imposed Preventive Detention, the Three Strikes law would have required the Judge to impose the 14 year maximum term for attempted murder.
Williams has at least 98 criminal convictions. He is virtually irredeemable. He is one of a few small number of prisoners whose chance of release is close to zero – until he is too old to hurt a paper towel – even by New Zealand’s soft-touch Parole Board, which seems to try its best to release offenders from prison as early as possible.
Even at today’s sentencing, he was threatening to kill journalists and guards.
He remains where he belongs for a very, very long time – in prison.