30 Nov 2017

Man who killed friend denied parole

5:30 pm on 30 November 2017

An Auckland man who covered up killing his friend by hiding his body in an abandoned house and assuming his identity has lost his third bid for freedom.

James Grant Cooper is serving a prison sentence of four years and three months for the manslaughter of Javed Mills, and for perverting the course of justice.

Cooper buried the body of his friend in a backyard before exhuming it and smashing his skull to hide the evidence.

He then hid the skeleton in an abandoned house in Mount Wellington, where it was discovered by demolition workers in 2011.

Pieces of bone from the skeleton were found in a neighbouring backyard years later.

In a decision released today, the Parole Board noted that Cooper has also not had any misconduct charges, lives in a self-care unit and has cared for a disabled cellmate.

But the board said it was not satisfied Cooper was no longer an undue risk to the community as he had not completed one-on-one treatment with a psychologist.

However, Cooper's lawyer said it was "not good enough" his client had waited this long and was still not scheduled for treatment.

The board acknowledged Cooper's frustration, but said the treatment must be completed before he was no longer considered a risk.

He is to reappear before the Parole Board again in June 2018.