Neil Raymond Swain
The Sunday Star Times, 4th January 1998
POLICE were not told one of New Zealand's most dangerous criminals was released from jail before Christmas.Convicted bomber Neil Raymond Swain (40) was paroled from Auckland's Paremoremo Prison in early December after serving five years and two months of a 12-year sentence for a terror campaign in Christchurch in the early 1990s. Police are furious they were not told when he was being released.
The Sunday Star-Times was told some officers had wanted Swain put under "unofficial" surveillance to see whether he still posed a danger. But they were caught by surprise when they learned over Christmas he was out and living in Auckland.Swain was jailed in October 1992 for several crimes, including the bombing of the Sydenham police station in Christchurch, an attempt to burn down a police constable's house and the torching of the house of a woman who testified in a gang trial.
Police opposed Swain's release when he first came before the Parole Board in 1996, and again in September of last year.Officially, police are trying to downplay not being told when Swain was released. Christchurch district commander, Superintendent Warwick Nicholl, said the matter would not be taken up with the Department of Corrections. Paremoremo Prison would not comment on Swain's release and the Minister of Corrections Nick Smith would not talk about the issue because "I'm on holiday".
Labour's police spokesman George Hawkins said it would have been common sense for police to have known when Swain was being released. However, any form of surveillance would have to be balanced with Swain's rights, he said."After all, he has served his jail term. He is entitled to his freedom," said Mr Hawkins.Raylene Secord, the woman whose house was burnt down, said she had put the whole thing behind her. She no longer lived in Christchurch and hoped the five years in prison had changed Swain.
The Sunday Star Times, 6th September 1998
MOVES are under way to keep a convicted bomber in jail after he helped Paremoremo prison inmates Arthur Taylor, Darren Crowley, Graeme Burton and Matthew Thompson escape in June. Neil Raymond Swain (40) was on parole when he assisted the four after their jail break. Taylor later gave himself up and the other three were captured during a manhunt on the Coromandel for the dangerous men.Swain had been released from Paremoremo before Christmas after serving nearly half of a 12-year sentence for a nail bomb attack on the Sydenham police station in Christchurch and other serious crimes.
He pleaded guilty in the North Shore District Court last Monday to assisting the escapers and was sentenced to 12 months' jail.The Sunday Star-Times understands police have written to the Department of Corrections asking that Swain be recalled to serve more of the 12-year sentence. Takapuna Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Bush would not comment on the letter, but said police would support any moves to keep him behind bars longer. Swain wouldn't co-operate with police when he was arrested, but Mr Bush said it was believed he had set up a camp at Muriwai and bought supplies for the escapers before they moved to the Coromandel.
He may also have driven the getaway vehicle from Paremoremo. Swain came to prominence in Christchurch in the early 1990s when he was arrested for the early morning bombing of the Sydenham station. No one was in it at the time but nails were strewn throughout the building and on neighbouring properties. He was also convicted of abducting two people at gunpoint before burning down their house and of setting fire to a policeman's house.Police said at the time the attacks were revenge for a major police investigation into the Harris gang, though both Swain and the gang publicly denied it.
When he was caught, police found in a garage he rented firearms, explosives, electoral rolls with the names and addresses of police officers involved in the investigation underlined, scrapbooks containing newspaper articles and photographs about individual police officers, and notebooks with references to the Mafia buzzwords omerta (code of silence) and infamita (spy). There were also scribblings condemning informers and depicting the police as the bitter enemy. Swain was also questioned but not charged over a spate of armed robberies at Christchurch hotels. They remain unsolved.
From Invercargill, Swain had been a thorn in the side of the police there in the 1980s. He was suspected of being involved in the torching of the CIB offices, an arson attack on an insurance investigator's office, the burning of a policeman's shed and the theft and torching of the mayoral car.The fire in the CIB office was set on the desk of the officer who was investigating him for car theft. Swain was jailed in 1988 when police found a double-barrelled shotgun in his car. He said he needed it for protection during a period of gang warfare in Invercargill which erupted soon after an acquaintance, Robert John Holvey, was murdered.
Date of Birth
Sentenced to 12 and a half years in October 1992
Released December 1997
Sentenced to another 12 months in September 1998
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/74147030/Jury-finds-Swain-guilty-in-Whetu-Hansen-murder-trial
Neil Raymond Swain Sentencing Notes
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
|Event Date||Event||Court Location||Offence Type||Offence Date||Committed While||Sentence Imposed|
|16-12-2015||Sentencing||High Court Wellington||Murder||24-11-2013||14 Years, Life Imprisonment||▼|