Serial killer Paul Denyer will never be eligible to apply for parole under proposed government-backed Victorian law changes.
Denyer pleaded guilty to stabbing and strangling Elizabeth Stevens, 18, Debbie Fream, 22, and Natalie Russell, 17, over seven weeks in 1993 in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston.
He was sentenced to life in prison without parole, but this was reduced on appeal in 1994 to a non-parole period of 30 years.
The state government has been drafting changes to parole laws, although Denyer’s parole application was rejected by the Adult Parole Board in May.
Attorney General Jaclyn Symes announced a package of reforms on Tuesday that would ban serial killers and child murderers from applying for parole for up to 10 years after serving their non-parole period.
The policy is at odds with the stance of former Prime Minister Daniel Andrews, who opposed the changes in June while he was still in office because he feared they would face major legal challenges.
That same month, Mr Andrews’ Labor government also rejected a bill introduced by the opposition that would ban Denyer from applying for parole.
The changes would mean serial killer Paul Denyer (pictured), who murdered three women in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston in 1993, would never be able to apply for parole
Denyer pleaded guilty to stabbing and strangling Elizabeth Stevens (left), 18, Debbie Fream, 22, and Natalie Russell (right), 17, over seven weeks in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Frankston in 1993
Under the new legislation, murderers, child murderers and serious sex offenders could be classified as restricted prisoners by the parole board.
It would effectively bar these prisoners from applying for parole for a period of five years after the non-parole period.
Other restricted prisoners could be denied parole for 10 years if it is in the public interest.
The bill specifically states that Denyer cannot be released from prison unless he is physically incapacitated or terminally ill, as was previously the case for Hoddle Street shooter Julian Knight and Russell Street bomber Craig Minogue was.
“The family and friends of Natalie Russell, Debbie Fream and Elizabeth Stevens continue to suffer and grieve,” Ms Symes said.
“These changes cannot heal her pain, but they can give him the assurance that he will never hurt another woman again.”
The changes came after new advice from the attorney general, she said.
Jaclyn Symes (pictured) said new laws would ban serial killers and child murderers from applying for parole for up to ten years after serving their non-parole period
The policy is at odds with the stance of former Prime Minister Daniel Andrews (pictured), who opposed the changes in June while he was still in office because he feared it would lead to legal challenges
A Coalition-backed bill with similar wording was put to a vote in the House of Lords in June, but Labor, Greens and cannabis legalization MPs joined together to defeat it.
Opposition corrections spokesman Brad Battin welcomed the change of heart on naming Denyer but said the government could have spared families months of pain and distress.
“You’ve had enough,” he said.
At the time, Ms Symes said the government’s proposed reforms were preferable to “one-man legislation” to avoid the possibility of Denyer following Knight and Minogue’s example and launching a High Court challenge.