22 Dec 2012

13 year old killer's school wants troubled students tracked

12:40 pm on 22 December 2012

The principal of the school attended by 13-year-old convicted killer Jordan Nelson says she will campaign to change the nationwide system that failed to alert the school to his troubled background.

Nelson was on Thursday sentenced to 18 years in prison for murdering his step-grandfather's partner in April.

Jordan Nelson was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Jordan Nelson was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Photo: Robert Charles / TARANAKI DAILY NEWS

Waitara High School head Jenny Gellen says the electronic student tracking system, Enrol, does not include details about students' past involvement with Child Youth and Family.

Ms Gellen says the school could have put support systems in place had it known about Nelson's background.

She said the Enrol system needs include that sort of information but Education Minister Hekia Parata has taken zero action, despite her complaints.

The Secondary Principals' Association says it has raised the matter consistently over the past two years with Ms Parata.

President Patrick Walsh said government departments need to pool all relevant information about students in one place where it can be accessed by schools.

Step-grandfather will fight early parole

The man whose partner was killed by Nelson says he will oppose any early parole for the boy.

Nelson will be able to apply for parole in six years.

Nelson had shot Ms Kurth in the back of the head as she was working on a jigsaw puzzle at their home near Urenui in April.

The teenager lived with Kerry Lock, whom he considered his grandfather, and Ms Kurth, who had been Mr Lock's partner for three years. Mr Lock, the former partner of Nelson's grandmother, had looked after him on and off since he was a baby.

Mr Lock told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme he doubts Nelson will be freed in six years as he and the daughters of Ms Kurth will oppose parole.

In 2010, Nelson spent time in Hawke's Bay with his mother and was placed back with Mr Lock after Child Youth and Family intervened.

He told police he did not get along with Ms Kurth and was unhappy with having his bedroom Freeview TV box taken away, as well as not being allowed to see his mother.

Mr Lock says he had explained to Nelson that Child Youth and Family allowed only supervised day visits.

He said said when the decision was made for Nelson to live with the couple in October last year, the teenager's Child Youth and Family file from Hawkes Bay were supposed to be transferred to New Plymouth.

But Mr Lock said that didn't happen until March, a month before the murder.

He said the teenager missed out on counselling and support in Taranaki, and the agency did not do what it was supposed to have done.

A statement from the Child Youth and Family acknowledges there were delays in transferring Nelson's case from Hawke's Bay to Taranaki.

But it says a lot of faith was placed in the fact Mr Lock was doing a great job as a father figure.

Exposure to domestic violence a factor - judge

In court on Thursday, Justice Heath said Nelson's mother had had a restraining order protecting her and her son against the boy's father for the past five years.

He said the boy's early exposure to domestic violence is likely to have been a factor in his inability to communicate the degree of distress that he felt at not being able to see his mother.

But the judge said he knew what he was doing and intended to kill Ms Kurth, although his decision was the impulsive and irrational one of a young boy.

Nelson will begin his sentence in a secure youth justice residence, where he will remain until he turns at least 16.

The residence has a school and other facilities to support young people and is not attached to an adult prison.