Peter Joseph HOLDEM 19/11/2021

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Peter Joseph HOLDEM

Hearing: 19 November 2021

at Whanganui Prison via video conference

Members of the Board: Judge G F Ellis – Panel Convenor

Dr J Skipworth

Dr G Coyle

Counsel:                                        Ms Roger Chambers

In Attendance:                               [withheld] - Case Manager


  1. Peter Joseph Holdem, now aged 65, was sentenced to life imprisonment on 13 July 1987 for the murder in October 1986 of a six-year-old girl.  He had a history of sexual offending against female children between 1970 and 1982, including the attempted rape of a 10-year-old girl in 1982, for which he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.  The murder of 6-year-old Louisa was committed the day he was released from prison.
  2. Mr Holdem was last before the Board on 29 May 2020.  The Board noted that he had previously been assessed at high risk of further offending and was considered to have made little progress on previous programmes.  The Board had received two recent psychological reports and there were differences between the psychologists as to the way forward. The Board suggested that the psychologists get together to map a way forward that will address Mr Holdem’s risk.
  3. There are numerous psychological and [withheld] on the file including an exhaustive review of the relevant material and previous reports by a [withheld], written in October 2013.  The reports of immediate concern to the Board at the last hearing were a report from [withheld] from 3 April 2020 and a report obtained privately by Mr Holdem's counsel from [withheld], a report dated 28 April 2020.  [withheld] had assessed Mr Holdem at a high risk of sexual reoffending and a medium to high risk of further violent reoffending and recommended a further group treatment programme.  [withheld] had assessed Mr Holdem at an average rate of sexual offending and below average rate of violent reoffending and recommended a multidisciplinary programme of re-integrative activity.
  4. A report from 16 March records a meeting and discussion between the two psychologists as had been suggested by the Board.  It appears from that report that both psychologists agree that reintegration will require a slow step-wise path with multidisciplinary supervision and input, [withheld].  [withheld] maintains her assessment of high risk and recommends that Mr Holdem attend the adapted Te Piriti Special Treatment Unit for child sex offender (STU:CSO) programme before re-integrative work commences.
  5. The Board now has one further report, a psychological addendum dated 22 October 2021 from [withheld] which is to be read in conjunction with the earlier reports.  According to [withheld], Mr Holdem is currently assessed at a high risk of sexual offending and a medium risk of violent offending.  [withheld] agrees with the recommendation for the adapted STU:CSO, and the papers tell us that Mr Holdem is currently waitlisted for that programme to commence in January 2022.  It is also noted in [withheld] report that Mr Holdem is assessed at the [withheld].
  6. Mr Holdem was represented at today's hearing by counsel Mr Chambers.  Mr Chambers advised the Board that Mr Holdem was not seeking parole today, but his goal was to prepare himself properly through a process of reintegration for a safe return to the community.  Mr Chambers referred to the psychological reports and in particular the latest report from [withheld] and the recommendation for the adapted STU:CSO programme.  He told us that Mr Holdem was reluctant to commit himself to a further programme.  In counsel’s submission he has done exceptionally well in prison, that he is currently in self-care, that he is keep keeping himself occupied and is committed to working on a careful reintegration pathway, such as was recommended by [withheld].
  7. Mr Holdem was informed of the meeting the Board had today with the [withheld] of his victim and the questions raised by [withheld] were put squarely to Mr Holdem as the she had requested.  In particular, she wanted to know whether Mr Holdem was sorry, and she expressed her inability to understand why he would hurt a child.  She was concerned that he had not successfully completed a child sex offender programme and her view was that he should not be released until such a programme was successfully completed.  At the same time, she considered it commendable that he has done programmes in the past and that he has worked hard on his horticulture course and in sessions with the psychologist.
  8. Mr Holdem reflected carefully on what he was told of the [withheld] views.  He told the Board that he could not begin to express how he feels about what he did to that little girl.  He said that he is really sorry and that he cannot explain why he chose to take out his anger on that child.
  9. Following that discussion, Mr Holdem told us that, having heard about what [withheld] had to say, he would agree to undertake this further programme and the hearing proceeded on the basis that he will go into that programme in January 2022.
  10. His Case Manager anticipated that the programme may take between nine and 12 months.  Following the completion of that programme, the Board will require a report on the outcome of treatment with a further assessment of risk and recommendations as to the way forward then for Mr Holdem, having regard to the consensus between psychologists that Mr Holdem will require a carefully graduated multidisciplinary programme of reintegration.
  11. In the meantime, that there are very positive reports on Mr Holdem’s conduct in the prison.  The attending PCO said that he is doing very well, he is keeping himself occupied, particularly in the nursery and that there are no complaints about his conduct.
  12. In the circumstances, given the information before us, until Mr Holdem has completed the recommended course of treatment and is well advanced on an appropriate reintegration path, he is considered still to pose an undue risk.  For today, parole is declined.
  13. The Board will see him again at a time when the adapted STU:CSO is likely to have been completed and reports will be available.  It is unrealistic to expect that he would be ready for release at that time but it will be appropriate for the Board to catch up with him to discuss the outcome of that programme and what is to be set before him on his reintegration path.

Judge G F Ellis

Panel Convenor