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Man involved in gruesome 2006 Stanley Waipouri murder back behind bars after drug use

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Stanley Waipouri was 39 when he was beaten to death in his home in Palmerston North in 2006.

By Jimmy Ellingham of RNZ

A man released last year from prison after serving more than 16 years for a gruesome Palmerston North murder is back behind bars after using methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, the other man convicted of the murder was last week freed from prison after more than 17 years.

Ashley Arnopp and Andre Gilling beat Stanley Waipouri to death in a probable homophobic attack in his Rangitīkei St flat on December 23, 2006.

Arnopp was released from jail on parole last year but was back in prison by December. Gilling was released on parole last Monday.

Arnopp was 19 and Gilling 17 at the time of the killing. The pair, who had tough upbringings, were found at the blood-spattered scene. They had drugs and alcohol in their systems.

Waipouri’s close friend Darren Haskell told RNZ that whatever happened to the pair, he was still traumatised by the sight of Waipouri’s flat in the attack’s aftermath.

Waipouri suffered head, neck and chest injuries, having been beaten for more than an hour.

The tip of his penis was missing, an ear was mutilated and there were bite marks on his nipples, although in court the question of cannibalism was never resolved.

Arnopp pleaded guilty to murder during a trial in 2008, while Gilling was found guilty of murder at a retrial after a jury could not reach a decision following the first hearing. He later admitted his involvement in the killing.

Ashley Arnopp and Andre Gilling were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Stanley Waipouri (pictured).
Ashley Arnopp and Andre Gilling were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Stanley Waipouri (pictured).

Arnopp and Gilling were jailed for life, with minimum terms of 15 years, becoming eligible for parole in 2021.

Haskell told RNZ he thought Arnopp and Gilling’s sentences were not harsh enough.

“They took his life and they took it viciously.”

He and partner Danny Delamere, another close friend of Waipouri, recalled getting a text at 5am on Christmas Eve in 2006, alerting them to what happened.

Haskell later went inside the flat, and the aftermath of “evil” that he saw still caused him trauma.

“He [Waipouri] fought for his life. He grabbed on to the top of the doors and got blood on them as he slid down them on to the floor.

“The only thing in his house that was salvageable – that was given to his mum – was a fluffy quilt thing that we got dry-cleaned. Everything else had body matter on it.”

Ashley Arnopp was released on parole in June 2023, but was back in prison by December. Photo / Claire Eastham-Farrelly, RNZ
Ashley Arnopp was released on parole in June 2023, but was back in prison by December. Photo / Claire Eastham-Farrelly, RNZ

Waipouri, who was 39, was buried in Palmerston North and Haskell said he visited the grave at the weekend.

He and Delamere often thought about their friend – his singing and DJing, but also behaviour that concerned them, including offering people a place to stay, as he did to Arnopp.

“He was smart. He was lovely. He was friendly,” Delamere said.

He said he had grown more compassionate toward Arnopp and Gilling down the years, since seeing them in the courthouse 16 years ago.

“Being so close to where we were sitting I thought, ‘You two are just kids’. I thought, ‘Oh my God’.

“I thought, ‘This is really really sad what you have done’.”

But Haskell remained firm in his belief Arnopp and Gilling should be locked up forever.

Prison recall

Arnopp was released on parole in June 2023, but was back in prison by December.

A Parole Board hearing in January heard that Arnopp’s circumstances had deteriorated after a previous progress report before the board.

“It would appear that a significant part of the change related to Mr Arnopp’s accommodation situation. He appeared to withdraw from his support and mixed with those who were inclined to antisocial behaviour,” a board report said.

Arnopp failed to, as was required, report to a probation officer in December. When he later did so, he admitted to mixing with “people who were not good influences”. He then admitted to using methamphetamine – which his parole conditions did not allow.

The Parole Board issued a final recall for Arnopp, finding he was an undue risk to the community’s safety. The board did, however, acknowledge Arnopp’s appreciation of why his release went wrong and what he needed to do in the future.

Arnopp waived his right to appear before the board in March.

A board report said he was “strengthening his release plan”. He also took issue with suggestions his partner was complicit or supportive of his drug use, something she denied.

Arnopp was on a waiting list for a drug treatment programme later in the year and the board thought it appropriate he was released to a residential programme.

He would see the board again early next year.

Parole granted

The Parole Board approved Gilling’s release after a hearing in March. It took effect on Monday last week.

Previously, he was working in the cafe at Wellington’s Rimutaka Prison and living in a self-care unit, but the board said he has since struggled to advance – and it blamed Corrections for this.

“He is a high risk of violent reoffending. He has been transferred to a number of prisons with the hope that he would be able to get some form of reintegrative testing,” the board said.

But promised opportunities for guided releases from prison or release-to-work programmes did not happen.

“His behaviour has been excellent. What work he has had outside the wire has been excellent and so no criticism at all can be made of the work Mr Gilling has done in prison.”

The board said every time Gilling moved prisons, “he seems to have gone backwards” and he would have to again begin the process for consideration for guided releases and release to work.

The board said each prison seemed to have its own rules and the way Gilling was treated was unfair.

Gilling was in Christchurch Men’s Prison when the board met with him in March but had not had any guided releases into the community.

“We think that this is most unfortunate, to say the least, and once again illustrates the inconsistent approach being applied by Corrections.

“Mr Gilling has been approved for release to work by Corrections. However, he is now not eligible for even guided releases at Christchurch prison because that possibility has to be considered by an internal committee of the prison.”

It seemed unnecessary to repeat an assessment already made elsewhere, the board said.

“We share Mr Gilling’s frustration at what seems a repetitive, unnecessary process.”

Further frustration came when Corrections would not agree with the board’s request that it provide Gilling with guided releases if the board gave him a release date, as other prisons did.

“We consider that Corrections are inserting an unnecessary delay in the process to try and provide Mr Gilling with a safe release.

“Mr Gilling has understandably expressed the view that Corrections are obstructing rather than facilitating a safe release for him.”

The board decided Gilling would be released on May 6 and a board spokesman confirmed this happened.

His release conditions include that he lives at an approved Christchurch property, abides by a daily 10pm to 6am curfew, does not use or possess drugs or alcohol, and does not communicate or associate with Arnopp.

Gilling would have a progress hearing with the board later this year.


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