Jacqueline Elaine Wihongi, pictured here in 2010, has had her parole declined. Photo / NZ Herald
Jacqueline Elaine Wihongi, pictured here in 2010, has had her parole declined. Photo / NZ Herald

Woman who murdered partner with steak knife back in prison

A Napier woman convicted of murdering her long-term partner is back in prison for hiding her new relationship from her probation officer.

Jacqueline Elaine Wihongi was found guilty of stabbing her partner of 17 years to death with a steak knife in 2010. She is serving a sentence of 12 years' imprisonment.

She is one of only three murderers in New Zealand not given a life sentence.

She was released on parole on May, 2017, but was recalled in July, 2018, because she had entered into a relationship without advising her probation officer and had failed to attend a number of appointments with a psychiatrist, the parole board revealed in a recent decision.

"She told us that [the lack of contact] was due as much to embarrassment as well as anything else as she had a good relationship with her probation officer," the decision said.

"Nor was her failure to keep appointments with the psychiatrist anything more than due to her forgetfulness."

In 2011, three Appeal Court judges ruled that a life sentence would not be appropriate for Wihongi because her mental impairment was a big factor in the offending.

Her partner was the father of five of Wihongi's six children and the couple, who were living apart at the time of the murder, had a long history of violence to each other. She had previously blinded him in one eye by throwing a bottle at him.

Before the murder, Wihongi and her ex-partner had been drinking with another man before starting a heated argument. Their daughter, aged 11 at the time, watched her father walk out of the house and her mother get a knife from the kitchen and follow him.

Wihongi lunged at him on the path outside, stabbing him hard in the chest and was later arrested.

Since being recalled to prison, Wihongi has been working in a distribution centre and is classified as a "minimum security offender".

While the board was of the view that Wihongi's release proposal was "sound", work still had to be done before members could consider that her release "would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community".

Wihongi will be reappear in front of the board in six months, by July 30.

This originally appeared on NZ Herald and has been republished with permission.