Anthony Phillip HITCHCOCK 30/11/2021
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Anthony Phillip HITCHCOCK
Hearing: 30 November 2021
at Christchurch Men’s Prison via Videoconference
Members of the Board: Sir Ron Young – Chairperson
Mr A Hackney
Associate Prof. P Brinded
Counsel: Mr C Nolan
In Attendance: [withheld] - Case Manager
Support Persons: [withheld]
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Mr Hitchcock who is 65 years of age was sentenced to preventive detection as well as life imprisonment for murder, abduction, attempted rape, and unlawful sexual connection in 1996. He had previous convictions for sexual offending in 1995 and 1988. This was an extremely serious murder and subsequent abuse of a young child.
- We last saw him in November 2020. At that stage he was undertaking his reintegration. It was said that he was proposing to be released to [withheld] but there was uncertainty about exactly what support they would provide. The possibility was accommodation only which would not have provided sufficient support for Mr Hitchcock.
- He is assessed at being medium-high risk of sexual offending and of violence offending. We noted that Mr Hitchcock had not had further rehabilitation since the Kia Mārama programme in 2015 when his behaviour was concerning, aggressive, and the inappropriate use of sarcasm. He had had 336 one-on-one sessions with a counsellor over a number of years.
- As to the position today, Mr Hitchcock still remains [withheld].
- While the 2015 conduct was extremely concerning, during the last six years his conduct has very much improved and he has had no further misconducts in the prison.
- Today Mr Hitchcock sought release. He said that he had a good release plan to go to [withheld]. He had worked hard in the prison over the last six years on his conduct and he had a good reputation within the prison. He had completed extensive reintegration. He had seven guided releases and so therefore should be released.
- We are satisfied Mr Hitchcock remains an undue risk and cannot be released. We approach this case on the basis that this was extremely concerning violence and sexual assaults.
- As far as [withheld] are concerned, we are told the release proposal is not to the main house where the main programme is undertaken but to a flatting situation attached or near the main house. The letter we have suggested that there was a bespoke programme that had been prepared for him to deal with his particular risks. We have not seen such a programme and therefore have no idea of its content. While we believe we have a good understanding of the standard [withheld] programme, Mr Hitchcock’s position seems to be quite different, and although it seems clear that he will join the main house sometimes for group-based activities, the core support and reintegration provided for him will be individual. We need to see that individual programme to understand what it in particular involves and to understand how long it will be provided for. At the next hearing we ask that that information be provided in detail to the Board. The release to the [withheld] is a core part of his release plan and a core part of our assessment of risk and how that risk is to be reduced once he is released into the community. And so, understanding the content of the bespoke programme is vital to that assessment of risk.
- The other issue of concern is that Mr Hitchcock has participated in [withheld]. He has had [withheld] in February 2022. That will be, we imagine, a stressful event for Mr Hitchcock and we are anxious to ensure that he does not suffer any debilitating response to [withheld] which would undermine any release. While important, this issue is not a pivotal factor in our conclusion that Mr Hitchcock remains an undue risk.
- We will see him again by the end of March 2022 with the belief that he will have completed [withheld] but most importantly, we will know exactly what programme he is going to at [withheld] and so we will be able to make a proper assessment of his risk. We will see him again therefore by the end of March 2022.
Sir Ron Young