1493610310651 - Former Taranaki prostitute and killer Jan Yorke back behind bars

Former Taranaki prostitute and killer Jan Yorke back behind bars

Six months after being granted parole a former Taranaki prostitute at the centre of an elaborate murder plot is back behind bars.

Jan Tewaipounamuarererangi Yorke made legal history in 1996 when she reversed her stance and pleaded guilty in the High Court at New Plymouth to the 1995 murder of Nicola Jane Goodwin and attempted murder and kidnapping of Goodwin’s best friend, Barbara Bishop.

Yorke was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years.

The 53-year-old was released on parole in November 2016 but a hearing was held on March 28 after an application was made on behalf of the Department of Corrections chief executive to have her recalled to continue serving the life sentence.

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The grounds for the application were that Yorke posed an undue risk to the safety of the community due to her ongoing contact with current and former prisoners, including a convicted killer.

“The submission was made, however, that her lack of pro-social support and employment and in particular her return to associating with antisocial peers has escalated her risk substantially.”

At a meeting on March 2, Yorke was said to have failed to appreciate the factors that were putting her at risk.

“In particular, that she did not believe her continuing association with violent offenders increased her risk.”

Yorke’s counsel, whose name was withheld, submitted the grounds of undue risk had not been made out.

“She submitted that Ms Yorke had made every effort to mitigate any risk of re-offending and when situations arose that raised issues of risk she contacted her support people.”

In February Yorke had assured her probation officer no such contact was occurring but a Parole Board report found she had maintained contact with criminal associates as recently as March.

“That contact continued to 1 March 2017 and was not disclosed to either of her probation officers by Ms Yorke.”

Yorke told the board a series of conversations she had with a serving prisoner were part of a longstanding supportive relationship that began in jail.

“She saw that mutual support as ongoing when she left prison but had no satisfactory explanation for why she did not advise her probation officer of that association.”

The board was satisfied, by a significant margin, the level of support Yorke had available to her at present would not sufficiently mitigate the risk to the safety of the community to allow it to exercise its discretion not to make a final recall order.

Yorke was recalled to prison on March 28 but will appear before the Parole Board again in June.