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A woman who was subjected to brutal four-hour rape before being driven handcuffed to an ATM where she managed to escape is pleading with the Parole Board to keep her rapist behind bars.
Roger Kahui is serving preventive detention with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years for the attack on the woman in 2006.
Kahui, whom police described at the time as a “filthy savage”, already had more than 130 previous convictions and was on bail at the time of the attack. He was found guilty on 26 charges, including rape and kidnapping.
His victim, who only wants to be known as Denise, told the Herald the impact of what the now 51-year-old did to her has never gone away.
“I still suffer from depression from PTSD. I have flashbacks, I have been on antidepressants ever since. It never goes away.”
Knowing he was behind bars provided some comfort but Denise says it has become more stressful as each year passed knowing he could be eventually released when his non-parole period finished.
“It was like a time bomb ticking down. Every year it was getting closer and closer and closer and every year I started dreading it a little bit more. When it came (in 2019) it was kind of like a relief it was here and I could get it over and done with for at least a couple of years.””
After his first hearing in 2019, during which Kahui was described as being at high risk of violent and sexual reoffending, the board declined parole for another two years.
That gave Denise some reassurance.
However, the Auckland woman is now concerned that his release may be closer than expected after the board declined parole at a hearing in April – but said they would like to talk to him again in just two months’ time.
“Last time it was very straightforward and this time it doesn’t seem very straightforward… obviously my concern is they are going to let him out.”
Kahui forced his way into Denise’s home on June 13, 2006 before punching her and subjecting her to a prolonged sexual ordeal that include raping her four times while she had two pillowcases over her head.
He then handcuffed her and forced into her car but she managed to escape as they were heading to an ATM and ran to a BP station where police were called.
Despite counselling and having the support of family, friends and work colleagues, the impact of the attack has never left her.
“I can be quite happily walking along and doing something at home and all of a sudden I’ll have a flashback and it all comes piling back again.
“I still get really scared if someone comes to the door, that hasn’t gone away. The good thing now is I can stay in the house by myself but I always have a phone by the bed and remote control for the house alarm.”
She has also never had a relationship since, saying “the thought of any man touching me makes me want to throw up”.
In 2008 she was “absolutely petrified” when Kahui sent her a letter at work from behind bars.
“He’d been receiving letters from someone who said they had feelings for him and he wanted to know if it was me – which obviously it wasn’t. He went on to say he didn’t know why he did what he did and he can’t tell me why he did it.
“I think it would be a disgrace if he got parole. I’d be constantly looking over my shoulder again. He knew where I worked because he sent a letter to me at work.”
Kahui’s offending has continued in prison with him being convicted for common assaults in October 2012 and January 2016.
He has also incurred 28 misconducts while behind bars, but a report from his 2019 hearing said his behaviour had improved since he began working in the prison.
Ahead of last month’s hearing Denise wrote the board members a letter asking for Kahui to remain in jail, saying it was difficult to describe all the ways he’s changed her life.
“I fully believe that Roger Kahui inflicted a life sentence on me the day he unfortunately entered my life. What he did to me that night is not something I will ever get over, but is something I am living with for the rest of my life.”
Now, as she prepares herself for another hearing next month, she’s reiterating her pleas to the board who will decide Kahui’s fate.
“Roger Kahui showed no remorse whatsoever for what he did to me and I do not believe he has the ability to show any remorse or empathy to me or any other person he has offended against.
“I fully believe in the unfortunate event that Kahui is granted parole I would have grave fears not only for myself… but also for the rest of the community.”
The board said in its most recent decision, which has been released to the Herald, that Kahui’s high security classification is being reduced to low/medium and he is waitlisted for several rehabilitative programmes.
It noted he did not want to attend the April hearing as he was “content where he was and functioning well there”.
However, the board members felt it was important for him to have a lawyer and be involved in the hearing process so “we can discuss with him the way forward”. As a result they have asked to see him again before the end of June.
At the time of Kahui’s sentencing Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Grimestone praised Denise’s courage throughout the attack and while giving evidence during the trial which led to his conviction.
“Through her courage she has ensured that no other woman in New Zealand will ever have to undergo or be the subject of such an attack by this man again because in effect the judge has locked him up and thrown the key away. You couldn’t ask for a better result.”
He said he believed there was little chance of Kahui getting out again.
“His words are that he’ll probably die in prison. Well, let’s hope that comes back to haunt him,” he said.
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