11 Mar 2012

Murderer who stabbed friend 50 times gets parole

12:23 pm on 11 March 2012

A woman who stabbed her former friend 50 times before dumping her body down a bank in Otaki is to be freed from prison.

Melissa Wepa has twice escaped from jail, since being given a life sentence for the 1997 murder of Caroline Gardiner.

The Wellington High Court was told how Wepa killed Ms Gardiner for dobbing her in to police about involvement in a burglary.

Nine months after going to prison, Wepa was charged after nearly biting off a fellow inmate's nipple during a fight.

The Parole Board now says the 38-year-old works 12 hour days as a painter as part of her rehabilitation and is doing well.

Wepa has also been having weekend releases and has told the board she is on mood stabilising drugs.

Despite being assessed as a moderate-to-high reoffending risk, Wepa will leave jail for residential rehabilitation in May this year.

She is subject to nine special conditions, one of which forbids drinking alcohol or using drugs.