Ashlea Benjamin ARNOPP 3/12/2021

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Ashlea Benjamin ARNOPP

Hearing: Friday 3 December 2021

at Whanganui Prison via Videoconference

Members of the Board: Sir Ron Young – Chairperson

Assoc Prof P Brinded

Ms M Dodd

Counsel:                                            Mr C Tennet

In Attendance:                                  [withheld] – Case Manager

Support Persons: [withheld]


  1. Mr Arnopp was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 2008.  In 2011, he was convicted of an assault in prison.  He is 35 years of age; this is the first time he has appeared before the Parole Board on this charge.  He has five pages of previous convictions, including property offending and violence.  He offended regularly over the years leading to the murder.
  2. We did not have a full set of facts relating to the murder, it seems that he and a friend visited the victim, there was a heavy use of drugs and alcohol and eventually the victim was beaten to death and was then subsequently mutilated in a concerning way.
  3. As to the current position, we have a psychological report, Mr Arnopp’s behaviour in prison has been overall good.  The psychologist noted that he has minimised some of his violence.
  4. He had an [withheld] and with others. However there have been supportive family members, including [withheld], who we talked to today, but we cannot stress enough the [withheld].  When he first came to prison, he had a large number of misconducts, some 38 with the last in March 2021.
  5. Since that time, he does seem to have turned his life around somewhat and it is appropriate to record that the last aggressive misconduct was back in 2016.  He completed the STURP programme in 2019 and made good progress. He had good insights into his conduct, but he needed further work on his maladaptive coping, and he was still assessed at being a high risk of violent reoffending.  At that stage, he was referred for the Drug Treatment Programme, as well as further one on one counselling.  Unfortunately, he became isolated, did not cope well and exited both the DTP and withdrew from the one-on-one counselling.
  6. Since his transfer to Whanganui in June, however, things have considerably improved. Mr Arnopp has been able to finish the Drug Treatment Programme, very much to his credit. He is now undertaking further one-to-one counselling.  Currently, it will likely end by late December 2021.  We express our surprise about that relatively early end of counselling [withheld] has played in his violent offending.
  7. He is also now turned toward reintegration and self-care. We think it important now he have a significant period of re-integrative testing.  This is particularly so given his long history of criminal offending and it is also because he has spent a significant period of time in prison and his improved behaviour and commitment to rehabilitation is still only relatively recent.
  8. We will see him again by the end of August 2022 to review the position. We understand that he may apply for release to [withheld] in the longer term.
  9. We hope that he is able to obtain some form of Release to Work and is also able to have guided releases into the community to test what he has learned.  In the meantime, he remains an undue risk.

Sir Ron Young