30 Apr 2017

Killer back behind bars over contact with associates

4:19 pm on 30 April 2017

A former prostitute at the centre of an elaborate murder plot in Taranaki more than two decades ago is back behind bars, just six months after being granted parole.

Jan Yorke

Jan Yorke was jailed in 1995 for the murder of Niki Goodwin and the attempted murder and kidnapping of Mrs Goodwin's best friend Barbara Bishop. Photo: Fairfax NZ

Jan Yorke was jailed for the murder of her lover's wife, Niki Goodwin, and the attempted murder and kidnapping of Mrs Goodwin's best friend, Barbara Bishop, in 1995.

Yorke was freed in November after the Parole Board heard of her "first rate behaviour" and a "substantial change in her demeanour".

But RNZ has learned the 53-year-old is now back in prison for having secret contact with current and former prisoners, including phone calls with a convicted killer currently in jail.

Yorke had assured her probation officer in February that no such contact was occurring.

But a Parole Board report said Yorke was maintaining contact with her criminal associates as recently as March.

Queried about that by the Parole Board last month, Yorke was said to have "no satisfactory explanation for why she did not advise her probation officer" of the associations.

In a new decision, the Board said it found "by a significant margin, that the level of support available to her at present would not sufficiently mitigate her risk to the safety of the community".

It recalled her to prison on 28 March.

The Board said "significant work is required on Yorke's part to re-establish a network that will provide her with the ongoing pro-social support she will require when she returns to the community.

"Her prospects of employment will also be a factor. So too will Ms Yorke need to satisfy the Board that she is committed to more open and honest communication with her probation officer."

She will front the Parole Board again in June.