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Ratima denied parole

Masterton mass murderer Raymond Ratima was denied parole for the second time in just over a year.
A New Zealand Parole Board spokesperson said yesterday’s decision was the fourteenth time Ratima had been denied parole.
Ratima was incarcerated in 1992 after being convicted of seven murders, attempted murder, and the murder of an unborn child at a Judds Rd property.
He is currently serving seven life sentences for murder, in addition 10 years jail time for murdering an unborn child, and seven years for attempted murder.
Sentenced on September 4 1992, the 55-year-old he has now spent 30 years behind bars – over half his life.
One News, who attended the hearing, said Ratima told the parole board that for the past three decades he had walked life with the weight of the loss of his mana.
“I will walk the rest of my life with that whakama [shame],” Ratima said.
Parole board chair Ron Young asked Ratima if he understood why the victims’ families wanted him to remain in prison.
Ratima said he did, and that he had aroha for the victims.
When asked if he understood the victims’ point of view, Ratima said he was applying for parole because the law allowed him to do so.
Young said Ratima could not hide behind the law.
“Given the threat you made to your wife and father-in-law, they remain fearful,” Young said.
Ratima said he would never do anything to harm them because he had taken so much from them already.
During the hearing, Ratima also denied that his intention was to kill seven members of his family and that the hammer and knife he used were “scare tactics”.
In September 2021, Ratima was denied parole after telling the board he was in a relationship with a woman.
This year, the parole board queried Ratima again about his relationship with the woman.
It asked what Ratima would do if the relationship ended, given the 1992 murders followed a breakdown in his relationship with his then-wife.
Ratima said he had been offered counselling so that he could build on his current relationship.
He acknowledged that relationship breakdowns were a high-risk situation for him.
In his 2021 hearing report, Young said there were a lot of positives about Ratima’s progress in prison.
He said his conduct was very respectful, he was working on the prison site, and had had extensive psychological counselling.
However, Young said the board was not confident that Ratima had truly understood the circumstances under which he came to kill the members of his family including, not just his own children, but the babysitter, partner, and others.
Young said Ratima had expressed how much he loved his children.
“When we asked him therefore why he had killed them, he said he felt he was putting them in a better place.
“When we questioned him today about the work that he had done and the risk arising from his murders – he focused solely on the work that he had done with a psychologist relating to the risks he might face in the community if confronted by an upset member of the public or a victim.”
Former Masterton mayor Bob Francis said he had kept in touch with the family over the years, and their view was that Ratima should remain in prison.
He said, however, it was likely that Ratima would be released in the coming years.
“It’s unlikely to be anywhere here.
“It would be unacceptable if he ever came back here, that would be totally unacceptable to the family.”
The parole board said it would next see Ratima for a parole hearing in April 2024.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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