Murder parolee admits going on the run

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

Three months after his release on parole from a life sentence for murder, Dean Raymond Purdy chopped off his electronic ankle bracelet in Dunedin and went on the run.

The 54-year-old is now back in custody and faces a hearing on June 12 at which the Parole Board will consider recalling him to prison to serve more of his life term.

Purdy has a history of absconding.

At age 27, in 1991, he was sentenced to life imprisonment after strangling his wife Debbie Purdy in Auckland, during an argument about her work as a prostitute. Her body was found in a toilet cubicle beside Karangahape Road in the city.

In 2008, he left the Salisbury Street Foundation in Christchurch, where he was attending a 16-week programme, and was free for two days before surrendering to the police.

In 2014 he was recalled to prison from parole after police caught him approaching prostitutes.

Three weeks later, he escaped after he was escorted to a medical appointment at Christchurch Hospital. He was caught nearby soon after, by corrections officers who chased him on foot and in a van.

Community Probation told Judge Gary MacAskill on Friday that Purdy was released on life parole again on January 25, 2018, with a condition that he was to remain at his Dunedin accommodation overnight every night unless he was undertaking a drug rehabilitation programme at Moana House.

On April 30, the Global Positioning Systems Immediate Response team detected that he had cut his monitoring bracelet off his ankle and absconded from Moana House.

He was found and arrested without incident on Christchurch’s Main North Road on May 17, after about two weeks on the run.

Police told the court that when he was caught, a search of his jersey pocket found a plastic bag containing 3.94g of cannabis. Purdy said he had it for his own use.

He pleaded guilty to the charges of breaching his parole conditions and possession of cannabis.

Judge MacAskill remanded him in custody for sentencing on August 9 – the outcome of the Parole Board hearing to recall him to prison will be known by then.

Defence counsel Natalie Wham said Purdy would not be contesting the recall to prison.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *