William Harold Matheson granted parole

The State Parole Authority has determined to grant William Matheson parole, accepting the expert advice and recommendations of the Serious Offenders Review Council (SORC) and Community Corrections (ComCor).

The Authority noted there was no Submission from the State opposing release.

On parole, Matheson will wear an electronic bracelet and be monitored 24/7 to ensure he does not enter the LGAs of Nambucca Shire, Hills Shire and Coffs Harbour. He is also banned from any form of contact with the victim’s family and must continue to comply with psychiatric medication and treatment.

The decision to grant parole was made today following a public review hearing which heard a submission on behalf of the victim’s family “strongly opposing” his release at this time.

Matheson is serving a sentence of 25-years with a non-parole period (NPP) of 18 years for the 2003 murder of Lyndsay van Blanken.

He has served almost 19 years in prison. He was refused parole at his first application last year after the SORC advised parole was not appropriate.

The latest SORC and Comcor reports advised the Authority that Matheson is a low risk of reoffending, remains compliant with his treatment and medication, has successfully completed all offence targeted programs available to him in custody, has admitted his guilt and shown remorse for his offending.

Since August 2022, he has also successfully participated in external leave from custody, including 91 occasions of work release and 5 day and weekend releases.

SORC stated: “We are satisfied that his release to parole is sufficient for the protection of the public…”.

ComCor is responsible for the supervision of parolees and has advised the Authority it has developed a robust and comprehensive plan to manage Matheson in the community.

Comcor has advised the SPA an application has been made to the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Matheson to be placed on a Forensic Community Treatment Order, which once he is released in the community serves to compel him to submit to ongoing long-acting injectable medication and further psychiatric treatment.

In granting parole. the Honourable James Wood AO, KC, who chaired the hearing’s panel of 5 members, said to refuse or defer parole risks increasing Matheson’s possibility of becoming institutionalised, potentially jeopardising the prospects of a successful transition into the community.

“Release at the end of sentence or deferral of release without the opportunity of undertaking a sufficient period of support and supervision on parole…particularly in a case such as this

…is likely to be counterproductive,” he said.

The Authority acknowledged the concerns of the van Blanken family and friends and extended its deepest condolences for the devastating loss of Lyndsay.

Matheson will be released by Corrective Services no earlier than 26 May and no later than 9 June and is subject to the following parole conditions:

- Standard Conditions 1- 11

- Additional conditions that he:

• must comply with Electronic Monitoring

• must comply with all directions of the mental health team, including

• treatment and medication (and if applicable, conditions of a Community Treatment Order)

• must not contact, communicate with, watch, stalk, harass or intimidate the victims’ family.

• must not frequent or visit LGAs of Nambucca Shire Council, Hills Shire and Coffs Harbour

Last updated:

26 May 2023

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