Gangster Leon Wilson sentenced for killing 'manipulative, calculating' - Corrections

Corrections has defended itself after a former prisoner was convicted for a crime committed while on parole.

Leon Colin Wilson will spend 13 years behind bars for manslaughter, kidnapping and conspiring to defeat the course of justice.

Ngaruawahia father Mitchell Paterson's body was found dumped underneath the McLaren Falls Bridge early on July 13 last year.

He died during an attempt to bring him before Wilson, the Waikato president of the Nomads gang, for badmouthing.

At the time Wilson had only been out of prison a few months, having been granted parole in February and released in March.

Corrections acting operations manager Mark Cleaver said in a statement it does not have the discretion to decide who is released into the community, only to manage them.

"Wilson's long history of serious violent offending and entrenched gang lifestyle was of significant concern to Corrections and non-compliance with his conditions was taken seriously," Cleaver said. 

"Since his first release on life parole in 2010, Corrections had breached Wilson a number of times, alongside successfully applying to have him recalled to prison on two occasions."

A man wearing a hat.
Mitchell Paterson. Photo credit: Facebook

Corrections reviewed how Wilson was handled after his crimes came to light, which Cleaver said shows he was a difficult person to work with.

"The review describes Wilson as manipulative, calculating and challenging to manage.

"While being monitored by Community Corrections he used a range of strategies to attempt to intimidate and manipulate staff. This includes providing different information to different staff about his circumstances, including his level of ongoing gang involvement."

The review found Wilson's management was proportionate to his assessed risk, but the assessed risk could have been stronger.

It recommended reviewing the workloads of staff managing high-risk offenders, ensuring they can manage manipulative offenders and enhancing information sharing with police.

Cleaver said staff working with high risk, complex and long-serving offenders in the central region have been given extra training to upskill them.

Corrections has also strengthened its relationship with police to ensure more accurate risk assessments. 

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