Erica Beth HEPPELL - 04/09/2017

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Erica Beth HEPPELL

Hearing: 4 September 2017

at [withheld] via AVL from [withheld]

Members of the Board:

  • Ms M Coleman (Panel Convenor)
  • Mr J Thomson
  • Mr P Elenio


  1. Erica Beth Heppell, age 67, appeared before the Board today for the first consideration of parole on a two year, nine month sentence for the ill treatment of a vulnerable adult.
  2. This is Ms Heppell’s sole offending. She has a RoC*Rol of 0.0271 and her statutory release date is 27 July 2019.
  3. The victim was Ms Heppell’s mother-in-law. The extent of the neglect and ill treatment described in the statement of facts is significant. Ms Heppell today accepted that most of what was in the statement of facts was accurate, albeit that she felt that it had been exaggerated. She was clear, however, that she had badly let down someone that she cared deeply about. She said that she and her husband had tried to keep her husband’s mother home, which was her wish, but they had not done so in the proper way.  Ms Heppell said that the relationship between them is still good and they visited her, both in hospital and later in the rest home, on an almost daily basis prior to her and her husband both coming to prison.
  4. Ms Heppell has been sentence planned for the Kowhiritanga. She was offered a place on a programme that has now almost finished. She told the Board today that she did not get much notice of a place in that programme but it appears as though her main reason for declining that place was the identity of others who would be on the programme with her.
  5. Ms Heppell is currently undertaking a Short Motivational Programme which amongst other things is addressing issues around how to cope on a programme with people that she may feel apprehensive about. Ms Heppell today said that she was motivated to undertake the Kowhiritanga Programme and was hoping to be accepted onto the next intake.
  6. The issue for the Board was whether Ms Heppell was going to pose an undue risk to the safety of the community if she was released prior to completing the Kowhiritanga. The Board has decided that she would not. The circumstances of her offending are somewhat unusual and it is clear that Ms Heppell will not be left with the care of her mother-in-law again.
  7. The reports from the prison about Ms Heppell are excellent.  She goes about her work with diligence and enthusiasm. She is described as providing a steadying influence in the kitchen and is very focussed on her job.
  8. Ms Heppell also has support in the community, in particular from her [withheld]. Her plan on release is to return to the family home where she lived with her husband and co-offender. Ms Heppell is entitled to superannuation which she can apply for on release.
  9. The Board directs Ms Heppell’s release on parole. She will leave prison on 2 October 2017. She will be subject to standard and the special conditions that we impose until her statutory release date.
  10. The special conditions are:

(1) If directed, to undertake and complete the Short Rehabilitation Programme and abide by the rules of the programme to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and programme provider.

(2) If directed, to undertake and complete any counselling or programme as directed by a Probation Officer and abide by the rules of the programme to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and programme provider.

(3) To reside at [withheld] and not move from that address, or any subsequently approved address, without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

Ms M Coleman
Panel Convenor