Case 13: Hayden Poulter

AUCKLAND CITY. AUCKLAND. 19th of October 1996. 9.40am. Sister Janet Swindle, a nun, was walking her dog along Karangahape Road. Sister Swindle and her canine companion entered Pigeon Park, an area of the Symonds Street Cemetery. Among the many corpses laid peacefully to rest, to her horror, Sister Swindle discovered one unpeaceful and unburied; the mutilated corpse of Natacha Hogan.

Visit www.truecrimenz.com for additional information on this case. Including a transcript of this episode, with supporting pictures, sources, and credits.

Hosted by Jessica Rust
Written and edited by Sirius Rust

Music sourced from:

Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
https://filmmusic.io/
“Come Play with Me”, “Day of Chaos”, “Drone in D”, “Infados”, “Over Under”, “Overture”, “Private Reflection”, “Satiate”, “Senbazuru”, “Spacial Harvest”
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

The podcast version is the intended way to consume this story but I make a transcript available for those that would rather read instead. This can be found below.

PART I: KARANGAHAPE

INTRODUCTION

According to Maori legend, Hape was a great chief, or perhaps a mythical entity; some stories even suggest he was a demi-god. Hape had a clubbed foot; this is where his name derived from; Hape translates to ‘crooked feet’. 

In around 1350AD, the first canoes, or waka left the Maori ancestral homeland of Hawaiki for the Land of the Long White Cloud. Only the strongest and most physically able were chosen, due to Hape’s situation with his foot; he was left behind. 

The waka made the long, arduous journey to Aotearoa. Months had past when the first Maori settlers arrived on the shores of Waitemata Harbour – they heard a figure on a distant hill; it was Hape. He had summoned a giant stingray which he used as transportation to the new land. 

Hape called out a karanga to those disembarking the waka. A karanga is a ceremonial call to welcome visitors to a place of importance. With this, the ridge on which Hape stood became known as The Place Of The Calling Of Hape; Karangahape.

In 1841, Karangahape was sold as part of a bulk land sale of 3,000 acres by local Maori to the government. The government built a new road on the ridge to join up with Queen Street, becoming the first Maori named street in Auckland; Karangahape Road.

By the early 1900s, ‘K’ Road’ became the premiere shopping destination for the people in the surrounding suburb of Newton. The street sported many churches, bridal boutiques, clothing stores, hairdressing salons, cafes and furniture shops. The road enjoyed economic success for the next six decades.

The popularity reached such heights that lines were painted down the middle of footpaths to regulate the foot traffic. A popular night on Karangahape Road during this time might include some late night shopping, a movie at one of the five cinemas, then for a frolic at one of the handful of dance halls.

In the early 1960s plans began coming together on construction on a major motorway; their plans included demolishing the housing in the Newton Gully, displacing 50,000 underprivileged Newton residents; mostly students, immigrants and criminals. 

With this, most of K’ Road’s customer base was gone. Slowly, businesses began closing down or moving to more lucrative locations. 

In 1962, the sex industry was forced out of their old haunt on the wharf near Britomart when the Auckland City Council eradicated it, in an attempt to clean up the city. K ‘Road, considering its current situation and low rent, seemed like a good fit.

In 1966, K Road’s first strip club opened — Pink Pussycat. This was the beginning of Karangahape Road’s notorious reputation as Auckland’s red-light district. John’s began showing up in search of ‘women of the night’; the demand was met with a forever evolving band of sex workers and pimps.

In 1989, a 20-year-old woman working in the sex industry, Leah Stephens disappeared on the corner of Upper Queen Street and Karangahape Road. Her corpse was discovered three years later at Woodhill Forest, near Muriwai. In 1999, a gang member by the name of Stephen Stone was convicted of the rape and murder of Leah, apparently in a cleanup job, as she was a witness to another murder.

In 1991, another prostitute, Debbie Purdy was found dead in a toilet cubicle behind K’ Road; she had been strangled to death by her husband Dean Raymond Purdy over an argument regarding the future of Debbie’s sex work.

In 1993, 17-year-old mother Jane Furlong, working in the sex trade to support her six-month-old son disappeared from K’ Road. Her remains were found 19 years later in May 2012, 90km southwest of the famous street; buried in the dunes of Sunset Beach near the small seaside town of Port Waikato. As of 2019, her murder remains unsolved.

A documentary crew came around K’ Road in 1993 to interview some of the street workers about the recent disappearance of Jane Furlong, one of their interviewees was a young 18-year-old, Natacha Hogan. Natacha relayed to the reporter when asked about Jane’s disappearance and possible death, “that’s the risk you take”.

Fig 1. Natacha Hogan on 60 Minutes

19th of October 1996. 9.40am. Sister Janet Swindle, a nun, was walking her dog along Karangahape Road. Sister Swindle and her canine companion entered Pigeon Park, an area of the Symonds Street Cemetery. Among the many corpses laid peacefully to rest, to her horror, Sister Swindle discovered one unpeaceful and unburied; the mutilated corpse of Natacha Hogan.

NATACHA HOGAN

Fig 2. Natacha Hogan

Natacha Hogan was born in 1975, she was the middle child to her mother Raewyn Hogan and her father; in the Auckland suburb of West Harbour. According to her older sister, Tanya — Natacha was born to, “[an] average New Zealand middle-class family with morals”.

Natacha was born with multiple birth irregularities, that according to her mother lead to a lifetime of ridicule and abuse from others. Natacha was born cross-eyed, although this would be corrected soon after birth. Further defects included ‘knobbly knees’ and a disfigurement of her mouth and jaw; this imperfection made it impossible for Natacha to chew food. 

Finally, the result of a fall in childhood — Natacha had a prominent white protruding bone on her nose. Another easy target for the school kids to direct their antipathy towards, as Raewyn explained to NZ Woman’s Weekly, “She broke her nose after a fall early in her childhood and, as a result, developed a disfigurement of the face that wasn’t operable until she stopped maturing. She had a bone protruding in one nostril and was called Bogey at school – that screwed her up no end. She never fitted in at school. Admittedly, she caused trouble but it went round in circles. Other people would be mean to her so she would react back. The teachers thought she was a disruptive child.”

$17,000 was spent on cosmetic surgery to correct the imperfections but, according to her mother, Natacha felt her face never quite fit. The emotional scars evidently never fully healed, the divorce of Natacha’s parents when she was 12 would only add further to her pain. Natacha’s mother Raewyn told NZ Woman’s Weekly, “She spent her life seeking acceptance everywhere and ending up feeling rejected. ”

When Natacha turned 16, she dropped out of school and began working the streets to continue fuelling a growing drug habit. Her family would discover this revelation when they saw Natacha on 60 Minutes speaking on the dangers of street work, “that’s the risk you take”. 

Raewyn told NZ Woman’s Weekly that when she confronted her daughter about what she had seen on the TV, she still denied it, “But we accepted her and what she was and offered our support and our help. She was ours and we loved her.”

Raewyn Hogan expressed her feelings further on Natacha’s chosen profession to the NZ Herald in 1997, “She felt comfortable with the streets. It was the danger that I couldn’t cope with, not what she was doing. She had been raped and would come home scarred and beaten and still go back.”

In the week leading up to Natacha’s death, she had recently been staying with her parents, she had arrived at her mothers in a state described as desperate — Raewyn explained to NZ Woman’s Weekly, “She was desperate. She was absolutely lost and came to see me at work and said she needed a bath and somewhere to sleep.”

‘Tach’ stayed home with her parents for most of the week. She cancelled plans to celebrate her 21st birthday on Thursday the 17th of October.

The next day, Friday the 18th of October was the last day Raewyn saw her daughter, “I went to work on Friday morning and she was still here when I got home. She went out that evening and that was the last I ever saw of her.”

19th of October 1996. 9.55am. Police arrived at Pigeon Park. Near the public toilets in the cemetery, they discovered the brutalised 44kg body of 21-year-old Natacha Hogan pinned under a large 33kg rock. Her corpse was facedown with her dress pulled up to her chest and her underwear pulled down to her knees. Natacha was splattered in blood with semen present on her body. The large rock had caved Natacha’s head inwards, and she had a condom stuffed in her mouth. 

Fig 3. “A bank security still photograph captured Natacha interacting with a man trawled in a Union Jack flag”

Pulling up CCTV footage of camera’s operating on K’ Road found Natacha was last seen just before 5am that morning. A bank security still photograph captured Natacha interacting with a man trawled in a Union Jack flag returning from a rugby match. Detectives also noticed Natacha had a handbag in the footage, yet there was no handbag found at the crime scene.

The list of suspects was wide, it was to be an exhausting process of elimination. The murder inquiry was named, Operation Dove. ‘Dove’ appealed to the public; for anyone who saw Natacha that night or saw anything suspicious to contact the police. 

THE LETTER

Six days later, 25th of October 1996. 8.45am. A letter arrives to the busy newsroom of the New Zealand Herald. When the envelope was opened, the reader observed it was lengthy, with messy handwriting and frequent misspellings; the first lines read, “To all you stupid fucks, I’m writing to you fuckers cause those pigs do not have a fucking clue, I don’t even think they can read. I thought they would have caught me by now.”

The letter was a crude confession to Natacha’s murder, filled with further vulgar references against women. Roger Wakefield,  A police reporter working in the newsroom explained his feelings on reading the letter for the first time to the NZ Herald in 2018, “It was kind of freaky actually… It seemed like it had a feel of being genuine. I rang the guy in charge of the case and he sent someone straight away to pick it up because it said stuff the killer would know.”

The letter boasted of Natacha being the killer’s fourth murder, and claimed Satan was, “telling me to kill all the filthy bitches.” The letter concluded with, describing the final murder, “I was covered in blood. It was good. That bitch I killed was the best. I like them young. Satan tells me to stop fucking around so if the pigs don’t stop me there is going to be more dead bitches. I think I might kill a bitch pig next. Signed, NBK.”

Fig 4. The conclusion of the letter sent to the NZ Herald

The NZ Herald surmised at the time, NBK stood for Natural Born Killer; a reference to the 1994 Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers. A film about two serial killers with traumatic childhoods who become infamous in the wake of massive media attention.

The film has been accused of inspiring other murders, most famously, the two perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre codenamed their plan ‘NBK’. Dylan Klebold, one of the shooters, referred to the morning before the shooting in his diary as, “the holy April morning of NBK” and added additionally, “I’m stuck in humanity. Maybe going NBK w. Eric is the way to break free.”

Another interesting observation; writing letters confessing to murders to taunt those still looking for the truth is very reminiscent of American serial killer Dennis Rader. For decades Dennis would commit murders, usually entire families, then write to newspapers and television stations boasting about his deeds.

In one letter Dennis claimed to be driven to kill by ‘factor X’, which according to Dennis was a supernatural element that also inspired the Jack the Ripper and Son of Sam murders. In an additional letter, Dennis gave his own serial killer alter ego a name: BTK; Bind, Torture, Kill.

When Dennis was eventually apprehended in 2005, Police discovered his motive was sexual sadism; a condition a high percentage of serial killers are afflicted by. Sexual sadism disorder is a mental condition named after the Marquis de Sade, an 18th-century French nobleman, famous for his ‘libertine sexuality’.

Sade was most famous for writing novels depicting sexual fantasies, emphasising extreme violence and suffering (sometimes against children) for the sexual pleasure of others. Nowhere are these proclivities more evident than his 1785 work The 120 Days of Sodom; telling the story of four wealthy male libertines who attempt to experience the ultimate sexual gratification. To experience this, the libertines seal themselves away for four months with 36 male and female victims in an inaccessible castle; they then encouraged the attending female brothel keepers to tell stories of their lives and adventures. These narratives form the inspiration for the sexual abuse and torture of the victims that takes place in the novel.

Back in 1996, could NBK have been inspired by the famous film that came out two years prior — Natural Born Killers? Or perhaps even the infamous BTK Strangler? Who at this time was still not apprehended. Furthermore was the rationale behind the killing the same as BTK? Was sexual sadism disorder the motive behind Natacha’s murder? 

26TH OF OCTOBER 1996

26th of October 1996. Cleopatra’s Massage Parlour. 4.20pm. The day after the letter was received at the NZ Herald newsroom. A man wandered into the Fort Street brothel looking for a date. The manager Herbert Norris informed the potential customer there were two Thai women to choose from, Angkana Chaisamret and Ladda Nimphet

The man appeared to like the look of Ladda and became a customer; paying $50 for the next hour. The twosome departed for a nearby spa room.

Sometime passed. Seemingly enjoying himself, the customer reserves another hour with Ladda. Ladda exited the room to make some coffee and confirm with Herbert the reservation for the second hour. While making the coffee, Ladda said to her colleagues, referencing the additional hour, “It’s no problem, I feel sorry for him.”. Ladda returned to the spa room.

Soon after, loud banging sounds are heard coming from the direction of the spa room. Moments later, Ladda is heard yelling in Thai, “Help me! Help me!”.

The manager Herbert and fellow worker Angkana relocated to outside the spa room. The moments that followed are chronicled by NZ Herald journalist Naomi Larkin, “As Mr Norris stands outside the spa room the door suddenly opens and the customer… stands naked with a large knife in his hands. He stabs Mr Norris in the forehead before pulling the knife out and turning on Angkana Chaisamret, stabbing her in the arm, chest and back.”

“Despite his frenzy, [the customer] notices Mr Norris has writhed away. He straddled him and stabs him repeatedly in the chest and upper body area before returning to the spa room. He stabs Ladda Nimphet a further two times in the chest before dressing and fleeing out a second-floor window. An eye witness later tells police that ‘when he walked across the carpark he walked with purpose and was determined, but did not seem nervous’.”

Ladda Nimphet and Herbert Norris did not survive the attack; Angkana Chaisamret was rushed to hospital, and while Angkana suffered multiple deep stab wounds — she survived.

11.13pm. The customer afflicted from a leg wound he suffered in the escape entered the Auckland Central Police Station. He laid a large 16cm ‘army-style’ knife on the public counter, and asked to speak to a constable about “important matters”.

PART II: NATURAL BORN KILLER

HAYDEN POULTER

Fig 5. Hayden Tyrone Poulter

Hayden Tyrone Poulter was born sometime in the cold winter of August 1961; the offspring of a British couple who had migrated to NZ. Hayden grew up calling Auckland home. 

In his youth, Hayden found himself on the wrong side of his father’s temper, he was frequently violent with his young son. Hayden’s father eventually left NZ and returned to Britain, leaving his son to be raised by his mother.

During his teenage years, Hayden spent time in foster care and in government care and protection residences, known colloquially as ‘boys homes’. It was during this time that Hayden alleged abuse against him took place; physical and sexual. 

In 1978, at seventeen years old Hayden Poulter joined the Navy although would later be discharged. Hayden varied his resume in the years following with a variety of work including shearing, fishing, farming, advertising and demolition. 

Hayden Poulter was also familiar with the law, having dealt with them since he was a teenager. While criminality was in Hayden’s repertoire, violence was not. By 1996, he had 67 criminal convictions — of these; none were for violence.

Throughout his life, Hayden suffered from epilepsy and depression; both exacerbated by his heavy use of alcohol and drugs. This hopelessness led to a life of despondency, and eventually three separate suicide attempts. 

In the early 1990s, nearing 30 — Hayden attempted to get his life together. He entered the Odyssey House in Auckland, a facility for treating those with drug and alcohol dependence. In rehab, Hayden met another guest of Odyssey House — Trudy Spiers, her stretch inside was an attempt to give up the booze.

Near the end of Hayden’s stint in rehab, he began dating the part-time masseuse and single mother — Trudy. Together they checked out of rehab. Both with their drug and alcohol issues unresolved.

Together they rented a flat in Avondale, a west Auckland suburb. To pay the bills, Hayden worked a demolition job and Trudy continued part-time sex work. Trudy’s sister Donna Ngawaka described the couple as, “… Normal and nice. If [Hayden] and Trudy had an argument — Trudy’s very fiery – he used to go for a walk”.

Donna described her experiences with Hayden as positive, “Hayden was very polite. He was a nice, everyday man – you couldn’t say anything bad about him… He was very polite, very nice. The kids all like him, except one, my littlest didn’t think very much of him.”

As the early 90s became the mid-90s; much stayed the same. In 1996, Hayden Poulter was 34 years old and Trudy was 24. Hayden’s dependence on narcotics only deepened and Trudy continued to abuse alcohol. 

TRIGGERED

On the 29th of August of 1996, Trudy Spiers held a dairy owner at knifepoint. According to the ensuing police report: 

“Shortly before 5.20pm Spiers took a large kitchen knife and walked down to the Leen Jackson Superette [in Avondale]. She walked into the shop and directly to the rear. At that time the proprietor, Suresh Patel, was standing at the till… Spiers turned left at the rear of the shop and walked behind the counter area, approaching Patel from behind. She surprised him by putting her left arm around his chest and her right arm, the hand of which was holding the knife, around his right side, pressing the knife into his chest. Spiers said “give me all your money”. This demand was reinforced by the knife being pressed against his collar bone… Patel gave Spiers all the notes from the till as well as the $1 and $2 coins. She was given $198.00. Spiers then said “get the pigs, get the bastards”. Patel rang 111 and advised the Police of the situation. Spiers is recorded on tape as saying to Control “if you don‟t fuckin come here I‟m gonna kill [your] mate”. 

“… It was about this time that Spiers commented “everybody is doing this, why shouldn‟t I?” and “I’m not doing this for the money”. Patel suggested that maybe the Police were at the front of the shop and Spiers marched him in that direction pulling over the bread and chips stands as she was doing so… [Police arrive and enter the dairy]. Spiers declined a request to put down the knife. She abused Constable A and told her to leave which she did. Constable B then asked Spiers to put down the knife. Spiers replied “You better not have a gun on you or I will kill this guy”. This threat was repeated twice…. She and Patel moved behind the counter, about midway, and Sergeant C moved into the shop until he was about opposite the pair. Spiers asked Sergeant C to telephone her sister, Donna Ngawaka. She placed the shop telephone on top of the ice cream counter and then moved towards the till area behind the counter. Sergeant C then telephoned Ngawaka who advised him that Spiers was an alcoholic and that the pair did not exactly see eye-to-eye.”

“… Spiers then told Sergeant C to telephone a friend of hers, Bianca Norris… Shortly after, Sergeant C made contact with Bianca Norris and arrangements were made to transport her to the scene. Officer C describes Spiers’ mood as swinging from rational to totally irrational. He believed that she was becoming more tense. Spiers then said that she wanted a cigarette. Patel reached forward and uplifted a packet from the counter. Either the packet or some of the contents fell to the floor and Spiers moved left and bent over. The knife was still held with the point to Patel’s body. The left side of Spiers’ body was then exposed in the direction of Officer D who by this time had stood up. He then fired two shots, one hitting Spiers in the left shoulder, the other in the left arm Spiers dropped the knife and eventually fell to the floor where she was handcuffed and later removed from the scene by ambulance.” 

The subsequent two weeks Trudy spent in hospital; Hayden was there to support her recovery. According to Trudy’s sister Donna — Hayden, “practically stayed by her side for the whole two weeks”.

Trudy was sentenced to four and a half years for the armed robbery and the other crimes committed on that day. Trudy was moved to Christchurch Women’s Prison to serve her sentence. Without Trudy’s income, Hayden couldn’t keep their Avondale flat. According to Hayden, the anguish of losing his girlfriend, followed by his home “triggered” something inside of him, “Something that was building up for years” — a new second identity awoke from within him: ‘Hell’.

HELL’S DEEDS

19th of October 1996. Hayden Poulter spent the early hours of that spring morning trawling bars on Karangahape Road with the intention of, in his own words, “to find a bitch to kill”

Shortly before 5am, Hayden Poulter stumbled across 21-year-old ‘working girl’ Natacha Hogan. They negotiated $60 for oral sex. Hayden informed Natacha he’d rather have sex in the park than his car. The duo entered the Symonds Street Cemetery, finding their way to Pigeon Park

As Hayden received what he paid for, he removed a Jack Daniel’s belt buckle from his belt — before viciously striking the side of Natacha with said buckle with the intention of murder. After the sixth strike; when Hayden noticed the buckle had broken in half and wasn’t getting the job done; he attempted to strangle Natacha to death. This also failed, Natacha was still clinging to life. Hayden confessed to police later, “the bitch wouldn’t die”.

Determined to finish what he started, Hayden hit Natacha on the head with a nearby rock rendering his victim immobile. Hayden then slammed a 33kg rock down on Natacha’s head; crushing it. Natacha was also raped; at what point this occurred is unclear.

Hayden took Natacha’s handbag as he left the scene. He returned to his car and began driving west. En route to his destination, Hayden searched through Natacha’s handbag for his $60; he didn’t find it, his money was still with Natacha in her jacket pocket.

Hayden stopped on Anawhata Road in the Waitakere Ranges to discard Natacha’s handbag; as well as the bloody Jack Daniel’s belt buckle. He then continued west for another half hour and reached his destination; Piha Beach.

After washing himself off in the public toilets, Hayden Poulter lay on the black sands of Piha watching the sunrise on the early spring morning; contemplating his savage and destructive actions.

After this, Hayden returned ‘home’, which was a caravan out the back of Trudy’s sister Donna’s house. He washed his blood-soaked clothing, including his leather jacket. When Donna returned from the night shift at 7am — she observed, “the first thing I noticed was he’d done his washing. It was hanging on the line and his leather jacket was washed and hanging there too. I just thought, ‘What a stupid male to wash a leather jacket. Fancy putting it through the machine.’ I’d never have thought he’d just killed someone and there was blood all over the jacket.”

Donna didn’t see Hayden for the next few days. Then on the 25th of October 1996, a Friday, the day the threatening letter arrived at the NZ Herald newsroom — Donna took an electrician out to Hayden’s caravan to complete some work that needed to be done. She discovered, “All his stuff was gone, everything, so he must have taken it that morning when he went to work.”

Meanwhile, Hayden had checked in to a Mangere hostel. The next day, Saturday the 26th of October 1996, he walked into Cleopatra’s Massage Parlour on Fort Street; booking an hour with Thai ‘working girl’ Ladda Nimphet. Nearing the end of the first hour, Hayden asked for additional time with Ladda and booked another hour. 

When Ladda left the room to confirm the booking and make some coffee. Hayden Poulter removed the large 16cm ‘army style’ knife he had snuck in earlier from under the bed; when Ladda returned —- carnage was unleashed; Hayden murdered Ladda and the Parlour’s manager, Herbert Norris.

Later that night, Hayden Poulter limped into the Auckland Central Police Station; he was sporting a leg injury that occurred in his escape from Cleopatras. After asking to speak to a constable about ‘important matters’, Hayden was escorted into an interview room for a videotaped confession:

“It started last week. I don’t want to keep doing it. I keep on doing it. It’s not good. I know it’s not good. I know I need help in some sort of way or another. I done wrong. I supposed it is irrelevant, people don’t really care”.

Hayden claimed to not remember the week in between the killings, and alleged his second personality ‘Hell’ drove him to kill, confessing that after the murder of Natacha — Hell was only more bloodthirsty:

“Do it again. He kept saying, you have already done it. You’ve been blooded. It’s easy now.”

SENTENCING

On the 1st of September 1997, Hayden Tyrone Poulter was deemed sane and pleaded guilty in the High Court at Auckland to the rape and murder of Natacha Hogan, the murder of Bert Norris and Ladda Nimphet, the attempted murder of Angkana Chaisamret and possession of an offensive weapon. 

On the 4th of September 1997, three days later, Hayden returned to the High Court for sentencing. Justice Paterson handed down their sentence, “I am conscious of the emotional and psychological harm the family and friends of the victims have suffered. You took three lives but it is no exaggeration to say that you have devastated if not destroyed the lives of many others.” Hayden Poulter was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 15 years.

At sentencing, an apology was read by Hayden’s lawyer on behalf of his client, “I want to say I’m sorry to the victims and families and my own family and anyone else concerned. I’m totally sorry for what I’ve done.” 

This was expanded on in a statement prepared by Hayden, “It’s been almost a year and I’m still struggling to come to terms with it all, I am constantly plagued and tormented with bad dreams. For me, it is a punishment on its own and something I have to live with for the rest of my life. The remorse I have within me is genuine and deep, especially for Natacha as her life was a lot like mine, filled with abuse and violence. I do not care if no one believes what I’m saying, but I need to say how sorry I am. I am sorry Natacha. I am sorry Ladda. I am I sorry Herbert. I am so very sorry.”

AFTERMATH

Fourteen years later, after becoming available for parole in 2011, Hayden admitted to fabricating the ‘Hell’ persona when he couldn’t bring himself to face his own murderous actions. Now, conceding his offending was mainly caused by substance abuse.

In 2014, the Parole Board admitted Hayden had made some progress but “there is quite some distance for Mr Poulter to go before he could reach the statutory threshold for parole. Mr Poulter needs to be tested in a slow and gradual way in a variety of situations.”

In 2018, it was reported that Hayden had been involved with 20 controlled releases from prison which, “have been to a range of venues and only positive reports have been returned”.

The Parole Board proposed to release Hayden Poulter in June of 2018 to a rural address with family members, where work would be provided to him. In May 2018, the Parole Board wrote, Certainly Mr Poulter’s behaviour and conduct on the numerous further guided releases and his general behaviour inform the Board that across time and circumstances he can be relied on to conduct himself in a pro-social and appropriate manner. Accordingly after consideration of all the material presented we are satisfied that Mr Poulter has sufficiently reduced his risk, that he can be released on parole subject to conditions which are extensive and will support his release into the community.”. 

Corrections operation director Coralea Easther told Stuff.co.nz when asked what restrictions Hayden would be under upon release, “Hayden Poulter is subject to 11 standard parole conditions for life, and 15 special conditions for a period of five years – with the exception of the prohibition against alcohol and drugs, which will be in place for life… A range of enforcement sanctions are available, including formal prosecution for breach of conditions. The maximum penalty for a breach of parole is one-year imprisonment.” 

Those conditions included being banned from contacting his victims, the media, or prostitutes; additionally, Hayden was subject to GPS monitoring. Hayden Poulter was released from prison in June of 2018; 22 years after becoming NZ’s first serial killer.

DEATH

On the 27th of August 2018, Hayden Poulter was recalled to prison; the details of why are not public knowledge. Theories range from relapsing on drugs to approaching a prostitute.

27 days later, on the 24th of SeptemberAnna Leask; working for the NZ Herald reported, “[Hayden] Poulter, 56, was found dead in his cell at Whanganui Prison on Saturday, a source told the Herald. Whanganui Prison Director Reti Pearse could not confirm specifics about the dead inmate. ‘A prisoner died in custody at Whanganui Prison over the weekend,’ Pearse said. “He was found by staff at unlock on Saturday morning. Staff provided immediate assistance, but the prisoner was unable to be revived.”

The circumstances of Hayden Poulter’s death have never been released. Although, a clue may lie in the ‘Where to Get Help’ mental health disclaimer that concluded Anna’s article. 

CONCLUSION

Since the events that led to the murders of sex industry workers Natacha Hogan, Herbert Norris and Ladda Nimphet in 1996, some attempts have been made to protect sex workers — including most notably decriminalising prostitution in 2003, under the Prostitution Reform Act. The change in legislation was controversial, but as Section 3 of the Act points out — the Act’s purpose isn’t to endorse or morally sanction prostitution but rather to create a framework that, “safeguards the human rights of sex workers and protects them from exploitation” and “promotes the welfare and occupational health and safety of sex workers”.

Possibly NZ’s most infamous street, Karangahape Road has undergone a process of gentrification, starting from the late 90s and continuing today; K’ Road is gradually returning to its middle-class roots. Although after dark — relegated to the dimly lit side streets of K’ Road you will still find handfuls of street workers preserving K’ Road’s hedonistic reputation.

Historian Edward Bennett claims K’ Road’s ‘seedy’ reputation is largely overblown; arguing Karangahape Road has entered NZ folklore as a place where dreadful things happen, “It is largely an illusion… You have a very tiny number of things creating quite a lot of noise. That cast a veil across the entire street… When you hear of a prostitute being murdered in the graveyard it heightens things. People think K Rd is lined with prostitutes and strip clubs. It isn’t, and never has been… Everyone needs a place to go to do bad things. In the same sense, everyone needs to know there is a place where the bad things happen, so they can avoid it. That’s K Rd.”

SOURCES

Articles
Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand’s first serial killer Hayden Poulter to be released on parole, https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/104287584/new-zealands-first-serial-killer-hayden-poulter-is-to-be-released-on-parole
NZ Herald, Serial killer Hayden Poulter found dead in prison 27 days after recall for parole breach, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12130751
Stuff.co.nz, Serial killer Hayden Tyrone Poulter found dead in Whanganui Prison, https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/107331557/serial-killer-hayden-tyrone-poulter-found-dead-in-whanganui-prison
NZ Herald, Dealing with demons: The story of a ‘serial’ killer Hayden Poulter, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12040901
Herald on Sunday, Confessions of a Killer, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12040901
Newstalk ZB, Serial killer Hayden Tyrone Poulter granted parole, https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/serial-killer-hayden-tyrone-poulter-granted-parole/
New Zealand Parole Board, Hayden Tyrone POULTER – 17/05/2018, https://www.paroleboard.govt.nz/decisions/2018/poulter_-_hayden_tyrone_-_17052018
TVNZ, NZ serial killer Hayden Poulter paroled – but he’s banned from the booze, drugs, prostitutes, posting ads or talking to the media, https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/nz-serial-killer-hayden-poulter-paroled-but-hes-banned-booze-drugs-prostitutes-posting-ads-talking-media
Wikipedia, Karangahape Road, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karangahape_Road
Karangahape Road, HERITAGE: THE MEANING OF KARANGAHAPE, https://www.kroad.com/heritage/the-meaning-of-karangahape/
New Zealand Geographic, K’ Road, https://web.archive.org/web/20140728091540/http://www.nzgeographic.co.nz/archives/issue-127/kroad
Wikipedia, Larnoch Road murders, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larnoch_Road_murders
Stuff.co.nz, Convicted killer Stephen Stone protests his innocence, https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/103924140/convicted-killer-stephen-stone-protests-his-innocence
Stuff.co.nz, Convicted killer in custody after more than two weeks on the run, https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/104010305/convicted-killer-arrested-after-more-than-two-weeks-on-the-run
Newshub, Convicted murderer on the run from police, https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/05/convicted-murderer-on-the-run-from-police.html
Stuff.co.nz, Person of interest in 26-year-long Jane Furlong murder cold case, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12238849
Wikipedia, Sexual sadism disorder, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_sadism_disorder
Wikipedia, Dennis Rader, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Rader
Wikipedia, 120 days of Sodom, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_120_Days_of_Sodom
Wikipedia, Natural Born Killers, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_Born_Killers
Police Complaints Authority, REPORT OF THE POLICE COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY FOLLOWING THE SHOOTING OF TRUDY JANE SPIERS BY A POLICE OFFICER ON 29 AUGUST 1996 AT AUCKLAND, https://www.ipca.govt.nz/includes/download.aspx?ID=104264
Stuff.co.nz, Hayden Poulter released from prison, but Parole Board won’t say where, https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/104823488/hayden-poulter-released-from-prison-but-where-he-is-remains-unknown

Newspapers
Sunday Star Times, Slain Natacha’s life of hell, pg A5
Sunday Star Times, Couple dead in sex street slaying, pg A1
NZ Herald, Trial of frenzied slaughter, 2 September 1997, pg A9
NZ Herald, Trail of blood may lead police to killer, 21 October 1996
NZ Herald, Lawyer delivers murderer’s apology in court, 5 September 1997, pg A6

Magazines
NZ Woman’s Weekly, Tacha knew her time was up, 2 December 1996, pg 14-16
NZ Woman’s Weekly, I housed a murderer, 15 September 1997, pg 16-17

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