High risk: Convicted killer Dean Purdy too dangerous for release from prison

A man who murdered his wife – strangling her to death with her own underwear – has been deemed too high risk to be released on parole.

Dean Raymond Purdy has been recalled to prison three times after being granted parole on his life sentence for murder.

The last time he was released he breached his conditions and went on the run in Canterbury.

In 2014 police caught him approaching prostitutes, which was a breach of his parole conditions.

Less than a month later he escaped from a prison van after he’d been escorted to a medical appointment at Christchurch Hospital.

He appeared before the board again on December 2 and while he said he no longer had an “anti-authoritarian attitude” that led to his previous breaches, he was told he needed to work harder on himself before he could be safely released.

In 1991, Purdy was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering his 23-year-old sex worker wife in Auckland by strangling her with her own underwear after an argument.

Debbie Purdy was found dead in a toilet cubicle behind K Rd.

Her killer husband is now 57 and has been released on parole three times – and recalled back to prison each time.

He has also racked up five new convictions for breaching his special release conditions, two for escaping and one for another offence while on parole.

Parole Board chairman Sir Ron Young said Purdy had a pattern of behaviour when he was released.

It was hoped that completing prison programmes might change that.

“As it turns out, that is what has happened,” said Sir Ron in a parole decision released to the Herald.

“As the psychologist noted, Mr Purdy has a history of offending, minimising and justifying and shifting blame for both his offending and his recalls.”

“Today he accepted that he was responsible for the recalls, that it was his actions that resulted in the recalls and that he said he no longer had the anti-authoritarian
attitude that meant he was repetitively recalled.”

The report noted that Purdy did “very well” on one rehabilitation programme and was “doing well” and had “made very good progress” on others.

Despite that though, Purdy remained “a high risk”.

“The key, no doubt, for Mr Purdy is that while his behaviour within the prison can be
adequate, it is learning to cope outside in the community and to work on his relationship
with others that will be essential,” said Sir Ron.

“He has been doing shopping … and has had three guided releases … there is a possibility of an internal Release to Work programme being available given there is apparently to be further construction within the Christchurch Men’s Prison.”

Sir Ron said Purdy did not seek parole at the hearing.

“At his counsel’s invitation, we will see him again by the end of May 2021,” he said.

“We think that is an appropriate period to further test Mr Purdy … In the meantime, he remains an undue risk and cannot be released.”

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