Granny killer out on parole
A LONG-term alcoholic who killed a 71-year-old grandmother in an unprovoked daylight attack on a Hobart street has been granted parole, despite his history of reoffending.
Robert Frederick Bowden, aged in his 50s, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment with a non-parole period of five years for the 2014 manslaughter of Carmel Nettlefold.
At the time of sentencing, Justice Shan Tennent said Bowden had been jailed many times before but continued to reoffend.
Ms Nettlefold was standing on a traffic island waiting to cross New Town Road at the intersection of Argyle Street when, for no reason, Bowden suddenly shoved her violently with both hands in the chest on October 4, 2014.
The force of the push caused Ms Nettlefold to fall backwards and hit her head on the road.
The court heard Bowden, who had mixed alcohol and valium the night before, made no effort to check on his victim before fleeing.
Ms Nettlefold was treated at the scene and taken by ambulance to the Royal Hobart Hospital, but her condition deteriorated and she died from her injuries four days later.
Bowden became eligible to be considered for parole on October 3 last year. His application was heard by the board on January 22 and he walked from prison on February 5.
The parole board described Bowden's behaviour towards Ms Nettleford as "sudden, inexplicable, unprovoked and with disastrous consequences for his victim and her family".
It also acknowledged "the risk that he poses to the community will very much depend upon" his ability to remain abstinent from alcohol.
In its decision, published online, the board said Bowden's alcoholism was linked to his prior offending history, which included a number of violence and dishonesty matters.
"It is the applicant's assertion, which the board accepts, that he has the maturity, skills and desire to maintain this sobriety once returned to the community," the decision reads.
"While there is a significant history, and therefore future risk of this applicant engaging in violence in the community, he has nevertheless demonstrated insight into his risk factors and has developed a solid plan to avoid and/or withstand those risk factors."
It was noted Bowden had served his custodial sentence in a "reasonable and compliant manner", achieving a minimum classification.
He also engaged with vocational coursework, therapeutic programs and counselling.
The parole board said Bowden intended to join his local men's shed and return to work, possibly as a concreter, on release.
Bowden will be subject to the parole order, which includes liver function tests, until October 23, 2022.