29 Aug 2016

Timaru murderer denied parole

3:20 pm on 29 August 2016

A Timaru murderer has been denied parole, as he still has significant treatment needs, according to a prison psychologist.

Robin Churchill murdered his wife, Sharon Churchill, at the Seadown Holiday Village in August 1993, where she was staying after leaving home with their daughter and young sons.

The businessman dumped her body in Lake Tekapo, wrapped up and weighted down, in what the Parole Board called a "dreadful execution".

The body was found two weeks later, shortly after Churchill advertised for a nanny to care for his three young children.

Inside prison, the 53-year-old has been working on a release and relapse prevention plan.

The Parole Board said Churchill still demonstrated a failure to take responsibility for his crime by using phrases like "since my wife's death" rather than "since I murdered my wife".

A psychological report found he "continues to demonstrate poor insight into his personality issues ... and persistent cognitive distortions about his offending. Additionally ... he has presented a superficial and incomplete safety plan, which is unlikely to match his risk of reoffending."

The psychologist said Churchill had "significant treatment needs that have either not been addressed or have previously been addressed, but ebbed over time."

Churchill needed to "shift his distorted thinking towards a lucid and balanced view of his ... behaviour."

The Parole Board said Churchill was "upset" by the expert opinion that he needed more treatment before being released.

The board said it needed to see "more, and sustained, evidence that Churchill has changed" before it considered his case again in November 2017.