Natalie Roselyn FENTON - 19/01/2016
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Natalie Roselyn FENTON
Hearing: 19 January 2016 via AVL from NZPB Head Office, Wellington to [Withheld]
Members of the Board:
Hon JW Gendall QC – Panel Convenor
Dr J Skipworth
Ms P Rose
In attendance: [Withheld] (Psychologist)
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. Ms Fenton is serving a life sentence imposed on 16 February 2000 for the crime of murder. Her parole eligibility date was 7 April 2009.
2. Ms Fenton’s crime occurred when she had just turned 15 (having reached that age two weeks earlier). She and two co-offenders, her sister Katrina Fenton and Danielle Bowmen, murdered Ray Mullins at his home in Papatoetoe. One of the offenders has been on parole for a relatively lengthy period. The other remains in custody.
3. Ms Fenton was last seen by the Board on 9 June 2015. It noted that she had made positive progress whilst on Release to Work and then had the support of the Grace Foundation. The Board then observed that she needed to present a strong, robust and satisfactory release plan.
4. Since then, she has participated in a whanau hui in August 2015 with [Withheld], other supporters and Community Probation.
She was approved for residing in Self Care and transferred there on 11 December 2015. She was also approved for work on external grounds and the report refers to her having made good progress. She is minimum security classification, a compliant prisoner with no behaviour issues.
The psychologist advises that no further treatment is recommended. In the past, Ms Fenton has successfully completed the Drug Treatment Unit, [Withheld] and [Withheld] programmes.
5. Ms Fenton and her case manager have presented a comprehensive and strong release and safety plan with a strong support network of her family, as well as [Withheld].
6. She proposes to reside initially at [Withheld] which was previously approved as suitable. Later reservations concerning that address (solely because of the number of residents at it) are not such as to override the suitability of it. She has had two whanau huis being group meetings with supporters and others. Her PCO speaks highly of her saying that she has done “really well” and there has been no incident or misconduct over a significant period.
7. Ms Fenton has guaranteed employment, supported accommodation and, as we have said, ample prosocial support. She previously had engaged in Release to Work in mid 2015, and earlier, over quite an extended period which, for reasons unrelated to her, ceased. She has had successful home leaves of 24, 48 and 72 hour duration.
8. We are mindful of the continued views and opposition of the victim’s family to any release of Ms Fenton on parole. We have explained those views to her. We assess her response to our questioning, namely that, “My heart goes out to the victim’s family” as being genuine and not contrived.
9. This woman has spent more than half her life in prison from the age of 15 years until her present age of 32. She has successfully participated in intensive treatment and reintegrative activities. Her release plan is solid with the support, accommodation and employment available to her. We are satisfied that she has met the statutory requirement for release on parole; namely, that she no longer poses an undue risk to the safety of the community and, as a consequence, the Parole Act dictates that she should be released on parole to serve the remainder of her sentence under the supervision of Community Probation.
10. She will be on released on [Withheld] April 2016 before which time we anticipate that meetings will take place between her, the [Withheld], probation officer and supporters so that all concerned will fully understand the safety plan and special conditions of parole.
11. We specifically record that we have taken into account the views of the victim’s family and given them weight in the balancing exercise involved with all the material considerations necessary in determining the essential statutory test, namely whether there is no undue risk to the safety of the public.
12. Accordingly, Ms Fenton will be released on parole on [Withheld] April 2016 subject to the standard conditions set out in section 14 of the Parole Act 2002 which are imposed for life. Special conditions are imposed for 5 years from release date, (unless some are varied at progress hearings).
13. The following Special Conditions are:
(1) Undergo an assessment for any appropriate treatment and/or counselling programme(s) as directed by a Probation Officer and to complete any treatment and/or counselling if found suitable.
(2) Undergo an assessment for an Alcohol and Drugs treatment programme (for the purpose of relapse prevention) as directed by a Probation Officer and to complete the Alcohol and Drugs treatment programme as required.
(3) To reside at [Withheld] and not to move from that address, without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(4) To be subject to a curfew between the hours of 10:00pm and 5:00am daily, unless otherwise permitted when with the written permission of the Probation Officer on any individual occasion this may be related.
(5) Not to engage in any paid or unpaid employment, study or job training without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(6) Not to associate or otherwise have contact with the victim(s) of your offending or the family members of the victim, directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior written consent of a Probation Officer.
(7) Not to communicate or associate with any co-offender(s) or any other specified person(s) or class of persons, unless you have the prior written consent of a Probation Officer.
(8) Not to travel to Central Auckland or West Auckland within the boundaries which are to be defined by the Probation Officer and conveyed in writing to Ms Fenton. The purpose of such whereabouts restriction is to prevent entry into the general areas in which two of the victims reside. Further, she is not to enter the Rotorua region (in which a third registered victim resides).
(9) Not to possess or consume alcohol or illicit drugs.
(10) To attend a hearing in August 2016, notified to you in writing and in accordance with any directions given by the New Zealand Parole Board to enable the New Zealand Parole Board to monitor your compliance with your release conditions.
Hon JW Gendall QC