The butcher's knives that should have alerted police to Nicole Tuxford's murder

A victim's mother says police failings allowed one of New Zealand's most evil killers to strike again last year and murder her daughter Nicole Tuxford.

Cherie Gillatt has spoken exclusively to Newshub to draw attention to what she calls a broken justice system.

The first thing many noticed about this case was that the killer was a groomsman for David Bain. They'd become mates in jail.

The groomsman was inside for raping, torturing and cutting the throat of his former girlfriend, 21-year-old Kimberley Schroeder, in Hokitika in 1994.

Back then his name was Paul Russell Wilson, but he didn't like being recognised, so after his release he changed it to Paul Tainui.

After talking to his victims' families, Newshub decided to use his original name, because while the name had changed, the man hadn't.

Last year he raped, tortured and cut the throat of another woman he'd become obsessed with: Nicole Tuxford.

Police took a mugshot of Wilson just hours before he killed her. They'd stopped him at a drink-drive checkpoint.

Newshub can reveal what police found in his possession: two butcher's knives, one 30 inches and the other 34 inches long. Despite that discovery, they let him go.

"She was just awesome. She just like…. I don’t know," Gillat says of her daughter.

She is a mother in mourning after Wilson murdered 27-year-old Tuxford. Now she wants answers from police, who pulled him over at a booze bus on his way to kill her.

"I need justice for her, for what he did, and for what they didn't do at the time," Gillatt says.    

Wilson was on parole for murdering a woman 24 years earlier, and a drink-driving charge would be a problem. Police first noticed him stopping well before the booze bus and reversing into a car park.

"He was trying to hide from them," Gillatt says.

An officer checked his profile on the police system, and even though he had changed his name to Tainui, his record came up.

A police note obtained by Newshub says: "It was noted he had a prior conviction for murder with a sharp cutting weapon."

The two butcher's knives police found in Wilson's possession.
The two butcher's knives police found in Wilson's possession. Photo credit: Supplied

Gillatt says the police should have done more that night.

"They had him in their hands, they processed him, they knew he was a convicted murderer."

Wilson blew well over the alcohol limit, and was told he needed to give the officers his keys and get a taxi.

In the dock at his sentencing, Wilson shook uncontrollably. But at the booze bus, police say his demeanour was calm - except when he said: "I'm f****d. That was dumb."

He then told the police that he didn't want to shock them, but he had some knives in the car.

"This comment came quite out of the blue," an officer recalled.

The two knives were large butcher's implements, one of which had been sharpened.

"He was a convicted murderer and he had knives in his car," Gillatt says. "You just can’t let somebody go on like that. You've got to dig deep. Find out what the person is doing, why they've got knives, and not just go 'okay' and send you away."

A statement from one of the officers said:

"Upon hearing [him] mention knives I became concerned. I asked him why he had knives.

He said he needed them for work. I said to him, 'Considering your criminal history, that is not a good idea.' I told him that I would be happier if they remained in the car.

"At this point I became anxious. I recall thinking that I needed to exercise caution. I recall thinking that [he] appeared to be fairly secretive or sketchy."

The officer watched as Wilson grabbed a phone and some pills from the front passenger seat as well as the knives

He held them up and said, “This is them.” He then put the knives in the boot.

"It's f*****g horrible," Gillatt says. "It's horrible to know what he was going to do with them. And the fact that the police pulled him for that and they still let him get away when he had murdered somebody else using knives. And they looked at it and think it was okay to let him go. It fricking wasn't okay."

Wilson then took a taxi to Tuxford's house to lie in wait for her until she returned from her partner’s at 7:40am.