Tasmania’s Parole Board has published its reasons for releasing Sue Neill-Fraser on parole after 13 years (of a 23 year sentence), and noted that she did not present like a stereotypical killer.
The Parole Board said Mr Chappell’s death was a “devastating blow” for his children and a significant loss to his extended family, friends and colleagues. “The burden of their grief has however been made more onerous by the ongoing media interest on his death and focus on (Neill-Fraser),” the board said.
Tim Chappell provided a written statement for the board while it was assessing Neill-Fraser for parole. He said while missing his father and sad his children were too young to remember him, Tim Chappell also said he recognised that Neill-Fraser “does not pose any risk of significance” by being released back into the Tasmanian community.
The board noted the murder had captured public attention for several reasons – including the fact Mr Chappell’s remains had not been found and because of Neill-Fraser “consistently and voraciously” protesting her innocence over the years.
It also noted Neill-Fraser did not present like a stereotypical killer. “She presents as a well-spoken and educated lady of mature years and somewhat inconsistently with the common perception of a person who can, in a premeditated and calculated fashion, kill another,” the board said.
“She is, regardless of her denial of guilt, appearance and manner, a convicted murderer, and the assessment of her suitability for parole has been made on that basis.”
The board said Neill-Fraser had no remorse for her crime and had not helped authorities – or Mr Chappell’s family – in locating his body. (She would no doubt say she felt deep sorrow for the loss of her partner, who she did not kill and would herself dearly like to know what happened to his body.)
It said she had no relevant criminal history and had engaged positively with her fellow inmates and the authorities during her stint behind bars, being held in minimum security and being “productive in the prison gardens”.
The board said she had breached prison regulations twice – once in November 2017 when she was found with unauthorised items like “foodstuffs and makeup”, and again in September last year when she breached prison security by releasing information processes to wrongfulconvictionsreport for publication. (You can read that here.)
“Otherwise, she has presented as a compliant, engaged and polite inmate,” it said.