19 Dec 2011

Hunter who killed woman to be freed from prison

9:08 pm on 19 December 2011

The first hunter to be jailed for manslaughter in New Zealand will leave prison in January next year after having served less than half of his sentence.

Rose Ives was shot dead while brushing her teeth at a Department of Conservation campground near Turangi in October 2010.

Andrew Mears, 26, had mistaken her headlamp for the eyes of a deer and in February this year was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Mears appeared before the Parole Board earlier in December alongside a prospective employer.

The board says he clearly remains grief-stricken because of the shooting, but is described as a very positive inmate who associates with the right crowd.

The Parole Board says Mears has strong support and does not pose a risk to the community.

He will be released on 9 January subject to five parole conditions, which will remain in place until August 2013.

Mears has been instructed to attend grief counselling and refrain from contacting Ms Ives' family once he leaves prison.

His lawyer Roger Laybourn told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Monday Mears continues to feel guilty for what he did and has shown regret from the beginning.

Mr Laybourn says Mears offered to personally apologise to Rose Ives' family, but they declined.