Woman lifer recalled to prison

File image. © Andrew Bardwell
File image. © Andrew Bardwell

Life-parolee Melissa Anne Wepa has been recalled to prison to serve more of her sentence for the 1997 murder of a friend she accused of “narking” on her.

Wepa, 41, appeared in court in Christchurch two weeks ago, charged with breaching her parole conditions, and was remanded in custody to today when she pleaded guilty.

Defence counsel Linda Drummond said that since her first appearance, Wepa had gone before the Parole Board which had recalled her to prison. She was due to go back before the board in March.

Because of the prison recall, Christchurch District Court Judge John Strettell today convicted and discharged her for the parole breach, which involved her working without getting her probation officer’s prior permission.

Wepa spent 15 years in prison after admitting the murder of a 41-year-old Porirua woman, Caroline Gardiner, who she stabbed 50 times. She believed Gardiner, a drug addict and friend she had met in prison, had implicated her in a burglary.

In 2005, Wepa and a fellow inmate escaped from Arohata Prison after putting dummies in their beds, unscrewing cell fittings after lockdown, and smashing their way through a floor. They used workmen’s scaffolding to climb a 4m fence topped with razor wire then scaled a second fence.

Wepa had affiliations to the Mongrel Mob and a women’s gang.



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