Murder parolee ‘could not cope with rehabilitation’

A convicted murderer says he absconded  because he could not cope with being placed at a drug rehabilitation centre. 

“He’s found being back in prison easier,” defence counsel Natalie Wham explained when Dean Raymond Purdy was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court.

Purdy has a history of absconding,

Judge Raoul Neave imposed four months’ jail on charges of breaching his parole conditions and possession of cannabis – 3.94g of the drug was found in his jersey pocket when he was caught in Christchurch after more than two weeks on the run.

A Parole Board appearance on June 12 recalled 54-year-old Purdy to serve more of his life term and he will not be considered again until May. This is the equivalent of a 22-month sentence.

Judge Neave said it was longer than he could impose, and a new jail term would have no effect on an existing life sentence. “The question remains with the Parole Board.”

Ms Wham said Purdy had been released from prison into the rehabilitation programme at Moana House in Dunedin. “He just could not cope with the new situation, and felt the need to get away.”

He now found it easier back in prison, and there was not going to be any further rehabilitative approach for Purdy. Corrections would “focus on practical reintegration instead”.

At age 27, in 1991, Purdy 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.

His latest offence occurred on April 30, 2018, when 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.

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