Nika ABRAHAM - 26/02/2020
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 26 February 2020
at Spring Hill Corrections Facility via AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington
Members of the Board:
- Sir Ron Young – Chairperson
- Mr B McMurray
- Dr G Coyle
- Dr J Skipworth
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Nika Abraham was convicted of murder in 2003. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
- He is on minimum security classification. He had only minor previous convictions. He is now 39 years of age.
- We last saw him in February 2019. He had completed Mauri Tu Pae (MTP) in 2015 and one on one psychological counselling in 2015 and 2017.
- The Board then noted his conduct was positive in prison and that he was living at the Whare Oranga Ake. We questioned him at that stage about the sexual aspect of his murder. We remained concerned about his understanding of why he offended and therefore adequacy of treatment. We suggested further work with a psychologist.
- As to the current position, Mr Abraham has had some 21 sessions with a psychologist beginning in April 2019. He told us today that it was continuing.
- As to his explanation for removing and disturbing some of the victim’s clothing after he killed her, Mr Abraham continues to say that there was no sexual element. He says that he exposed her body as a way of degrading the victim as he had felt degraded by his family, particularly the women in his family. He had felt unwanted by them and had been rejected by both his family and his in-laws, particularly the women in those families. He said that he wanted the victim to feel unwanted as he had been unwanted. We do not express any view as to the reasons why Mr Abraham disturbed the victim’s clothing but we record this as his explanation. He says therefore, that he had a lifetime of being hostile to women as a result of the actions of females within his family.
- He says that in recent years his view of women has significantly changed. It has changed because of the work he has been doing with the psychologist and the extensive contact he has had with women in prison. He has changed from someone who could not speak to women, but if he did he would speak aggressively, to someone who was able to communicate effectively with females. That communication and his capacity to do so was confirmed by the senior prison officer who spoke to us as well as others from his family.
- During the course of our discussion today with Mr Abraham he was asked whether he had followed anyone else, including the victim, before the murder. He said he had not done so. However, we have notes from our previous discussions in 2015 with Mr Abraham, which said that he had previously followed another person about a month before. He had followed her from the train station to Melling Bridge in Lower Hutt. We express our concern about this because Mr Abraham does have a history of lying about the circumstances of this crime, in particular, his confession and retraction and the writing and presentation of letters during the course of his trial, which he claimed refer others. We raise these matters for, we hope, information for the psychologist who may be able to raise these issues with Mr Abraham as his treatment continues and it would be of interest to us to have a further report on that aspect.
- Mr Abraham is still at the whare. He has undertaken a number of shopping trips in the community. He has had six guided releases and he commenced release to work on 1 November 2019 at [withheld]. He has good feedback from [withheld], [and] he has reviewed and completed his safety plan. He has told us that the psychologist has said that he could stop seeing her but says that he wants to continue in the meantime.
- We think two aspects require further testing with Mr Abraham.
- Firstly, he has only been on Release to Work relatively recently and we would like further period on Release to Work to continue to test him.
- Secondly, his change in attitude and approach to women and the way in which he sees women is also relatively recent. Again a further period of testing will be valuable.
- In the meantime, we are satisfied he is an undue risk. For the longer term, we consider he has a comprehensive and well put together release plan.
- We will see him again in six months’ time, by the end of August 2020 to review progress at that stage.
Sir Ron Young