20 Jul 2012

Violent offender's arrival worries neighbours

8:11 pm on 20 July 2012

The Probation Service says it is keeping a close eye on a convicted violent offender whose release has alarmed his neighbours in Whangarei.

Arthur Gray, 51, came out of prison on Wednesday after serving a full nine-year term for the attempted murder of a backpacker.

He is now living alone in a cabin on family land in the suburb of Kamo.

The Parole Board says Gray suffers from a paranoid-delusional disorder, and is at high risk of violent re-offending.

Neighbours in the lifestyle-block area say they are afraid and worried about the risk to their families.

Community Probation Service acting general manager Maria McDonald says Gray is under a night-time curfew, and police are making frequent checks on him.

She says the service is in close contact, and the Salvation Army has helped him since his release.

Ms McDonald says Gray has been co-operative.

The service is also liaising with Gray's neighbours and Whangarei police, and is also arranging for a forensic psychiatric assessment of his mental state.

A woman neighbour, who asked not to be named, says the police have told her not to look at Gray or provoke him and she is terrified.

But she says the situation can't be good for Gray, either. "To me it could make him worse, I mean being isolated like that, being told people around him, being told they're not allowed to have anything to do with him. That can't be really healthy. There's a lot not right with what's going on here."