Kiwi man who killed woman on Norfolk Island to be deported to Christchurch

Glenn McNeill at the Norfolk Island Court House in 2006.
Glenn McNeill at the Norfolk Island Court House in 2006. Photo credit: Getty Images / Fairfax Media / SMH / Wade Laube.

A Kiwi man convicted of killing a woman then dumping her body on Norfolk Island 22 years ago will soon be deported back to Aotearoa.

Glenn McNeill murdered Janelle Patton in March 2002, the first person to be murdered on Norfolk Island in more than a century.

New South Wales Police released McNeill from custody on Wednesday, according to Stuff, and will be flown to Ōtautahi/Christchurch as soon as Thursday.

David Grigg, deputy national commissioner (acting) for Ara Poutama/Corrections, said McNeill will be under special conditions upon returning - what's called a Returning Offenders Order (ROO).

"The Returning Offenders (Management and Information) Act 2015 enables Corrections to manage and monitor certain offenders returning from overseas," he explained.

It's a decision made by the Police Commissioner, Grigg said.

"The law applies regardless of whether the offender is deported, removed, or returns voluntarily."

Grigg said people subject to ROOs are managed the same as inmates released from New Zealand prisons. 

"We actively manage the compliance of all offenders with their conditions, and hold them to account if they breach."

Ara Poutama/Corrections can apply to the court for further special conditions once McNeill has arrived, he added.

Who is Janelle Patton?

Janelle Patton died on Norfolk Island in March 2002. Her body was found wrapped in black plastic at a picnic area.

She was a young woman who had just left Sydney life behind for a calmer pace on the remote Australian territory.

Autopsy results showed she had 64 wounds, including deep cuts on her hands, stab wounds, plus a fractured skull and pelvis.

For more than two years, detectives couldn't identify a lead as to who killed her, but in October 2004 they found fingerprints on the black plastic.

It turns out they were McNeill's fingerprints.

He had been working on Norfolk Island for two years already before killing Patton. He then flew to Whakatū/Nelson six weeks later.

Police questioned McNeill over a burglary, but not Patton's death. 

His fingerprints and DNA were taken at the time, but weren't looked at again for another two years.

Then in 2004, detectives found the plastic sheet's fingerprints were a match for McNeill, while green glass found in his Honda Civic resembled fragments found in Patton's hair.

Initially, McNeill claimed he was smoking cannabis and ran Patton over in his car. He then loaded her body in the car boot and dumped it at the reserve where it was later found. 

But he walked back that statement.

In 2007, a jury found him guilty, and he was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

His minimum prison term expired today.