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Taranaki killer released after 20 years

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/12/2016

A woman involved in an elaborate murder plot involving a faked car crash off a Taranaki cliff has been released on parole 20 years after she was jailed for life.

Jan Yorke, 52, was granted parole last month after the Parole Board noted the wide-ranging support she would have outside prison and a substantial change in her demeanour.

She may be taking te reo courses at an unnamed marae and the board's report indicates she will even be working with police, although redactions make it unclear how.

Yorke and her co-offender Mark Victor Goodwin were sentenced to life in 1996 for the murder of Goodwin's estranged wife Nikki Goodwin and the attempted murder of her friend Barbara Bishop.

In an elaborate plan to make it look like an alcohol-related crash, they kidnapped the women and forced them to take drugs and alcohol before bashing Mrs Goodwin with a brick and pushing a car containing Ms Bishop off a cliff near Opunake.

The plan was exposed when Ms Bishop survived and Mrs Goodwin's body was found buried in an inland Taranaki forest.

The Parole Board's Alan Ritchie says there is a residual risk Yorke may reoffend but that can be managed with release conditions.

Yorke will be subject to standard release conditions - where a probation officer must approve where the person lives, among other conditions - for life.

For the next 10 years a probation officer can order her to complete treatment or counselling and she cannot drink or take illegal drugs or enter the Taranaki region.

She cannot contact any victims or her co-offender Goodwin, who was released on parole in 2012 after serving 16 years and faced five years of curfew and a ban on visiting Taranaki.

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