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Fifteen years ago the murder of Shaun Phillips shocked the state.

Now his traumatised father wants help to stop one of the killers getting parole.



Why is my son's killer partying?

Gary Phillips isn't angry. But he is disappointed and more than a little bit astonished.
The father of murdered schoolboy Shaun Phillips wants to know why the man who helped kill and then rape his seven-year-old son was allowed to be photographed with a fellow prisoner dressed in drag at Port Lincoln Prison.
The disgraceful image of a grinning Kevin Riley being groped by a drag queen not the fact a group of medium-security prisoners were allowed to dress up in women's clothing for a Christmas concert is what has upset him.
Still grieving over the loss of his beloved son 19 years ago, Mr Phillips simply can't believe prison manager Di Cooper let Riley "anywhere near" such activity let alone took part.
"This annoys me because the prison should have known this would get out," he said.
"It just brings this guy back into my head again. When they do stupid things like this, letting him mix with prisoners like this, it puts it straight back in your face again.
"This is a child murderer, for goodness sake."
Kevin Riley, 46, has served 19 years of a 23-year sentence for his part in the murder and sexual assault of Shaun in 1988.
His brother, Jim Riley, is serving a 28-year sentence at Mt Gambier Prison after pleading guilty to Shaun's murder and rape.
At their respective trials, the court heard Jim Riley abducted Shaun as he played on his tricycle in the driveway of his Cowandilla home. He was taken to a nearby flat and sexually assaulted by Jim Riley before being bashed and strangled. Kevin Riley raped Shaun after the boy died and the pair then dumped his body over a fence next to their flat.
Mr Phillips, who received a phone call from Correctional Services acting chief executive officer Greg Weir on Friday night apologising for any distress the Port Lincoln incident had caused him, simply shook his head when shown the photograph of Kevin Riley.
"I do not think this is a classic case study in rehabilitation," he said. "I hope he is not getting any day release from the prison. I would like to know if that is in fact the case and I think the local community would, too".
Mr Phillips said he believed it was "inappropriate" for Riley to be held at Port Lincoln, considering he was refused parole in 2003.
In rejecting his application, Parole Board chairwoman Frances Nelson, QC, said "it would not be in the public interest" to release Riley and he "represents a risk to the community in that the likelihood of him re-offending is high".
Mr Phillips said: "I was surprised to learn he was there and this reinforces my view."
He emphasised that he "had no problem" with such a concert being held at any prison.
"I don't hold a grudge against all prisoners. By all means, enjoy Christmas and have a dress-up show, but don't include the likes of Kevin Riley," he said.
"You can't do this and involve sex offenders, let alone child murderers.
"I hope none of the prisoners dressed as women in these pictures are rapists. What will their victims feel? It's a blunder, a real blunder".
Mr Phillips said it was "fairly clear" following several incidents in South Australian prisons recently the "line has blurred" between prisoners and their jailers.
"It must be a hard job, but they have to realise they are not mates, they have to be aware of that at all times," he said.

Sunday Mail (SA) (15-5-2007)
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/why-is-my-sons-killer-partying/story-e6frea83-1111113572012


Murder Feels Like Only Seconds Ago

Kevin Riley at the scene of the murder in 1989
IT was 15 years ago that Shaun Phillips, 7, was murdered but it still feels like barely an instant ago for his father Gary.
News that one of his son's two killers, Kevin Kenneth Riley, had applied for parole after serving 15 years of a 23-year jail term, has rocked Mr Phillips' already fragile existence.
It's recalled for him the painful agony of 1988 when Shaun disappeared while riding his tricycle outside Mr Phillips' house on Burbridge Rd. Brooklyn Park, before his strangled and brutalised body was found two hours later only 500m away.
He recalls the agony of 1989, when he sat through the subsequent murder trial.
Riley, then 27, and his brother Jim Paul Riley, 28, were convicted of murdering and attempting to rape Shaun.
Jim Riley, who pleaded guilty to murder, received a 28-year non- parole sentence.
Mr Phillips is pleading with the Parole Board to refuse Kevin Riley's application.
"He has only served 15 years... I realise that be was given an automatic one-third off his sentence for 'good behaviour' but I cannot accept the possibility that he could be free as early as August 20, Mr Phillips said yesterday.
'To us it feels like only 15 seconds since we lost Shaun but that is normal for victims of all crimes.
"I've always been an extremely introverted person and becoming a father helped me to change that and get involved with Shaun's school and his friends but now I've gone back to my old self and that is really sad."
Mr Phillips said he found out about Riley's application six days ago and decided to speak publicly so former school friends of Shaun's would be aware of the parole application and might want to write to the Parole Board by the June 12 deadline.
"I haven't even come close - if ever - to getting my life back but I thought anyone who knew Shaun might want to express their feelings as to how his loss affected them." the electrical fitter said.
"I think this will come as quite a shock to them.
"I trust the Parole Board will do the right thing but I thought it would be good- to give them as much guidance as possible and this can only come from the people who knew and loved Shaun. I also realise that Sbaun's death affected the whole community greatly in 1988. Other people might want to contact the board with their concerns.
"I'm a fair person, they have to prove this guy has changed... the question is has he? I just want the community to be safe."
Mr Phillips is disturbed that Kevin Riley told the court at his trial he had sexual intercourse. with Shaun when he thought he was dead.
"That's not stable thinking." he said.
At the brothers' sentencing, trial judge Justice Matheson said Jim Riley had a mental age of eight and Kevin a mental age of seven.


Judge's Comments Hold Key

THE Parole Board can extend the non-parole period of Kevin Kenneth Riley's prison term, based on sentencing remarks by the trial judge.
On August 2, 1989, Justice Matheson told the brothers: "Your intelligence is not so low that a long period in prison will not bring home to you how terrible your crimes were.
"I have also taken into account that if, when the time approaches for your release from prison, indications then are that you will constitute a danger to the public upon release, the crown can apply to extend the non-parole period."
While both brothers were of low mental ages. neither had any psychiatric disorder.
The board recently refused to consider an eligible parole application from another convicted murderer until he had undergone further psychiatric treatment.


Board Powers Under Review

A spokeswoman for Premier Mike Rann, whose government has overturned three parole applications. said any Parole Board recommendation would go before the State Cabinet and no comment would be made until then.
Parole applications by three convicted murderers have been overturned by the State Government since April, 2002.
Earlier this year, the Government overturned the Parole Board's recommendation to release Allan Charles Ellis, convicted of a brutal race killing in 1982.
A row erupted in 2002 after the government refused to allow the release of convicted murderers James David Watson and Stephen Wayne McBnde.
Last month the Government announced a review of the Parole Board's powers, after concerns were expressed about the automatic release from prison of some offenders - pedophiles in particular. "The Government is concerned that the procedures and legislation under which the Parole Board operates do not expressly provide for community safety or take into account the concerns of victims," Mr Rann said.
Terms of reference for the review, to be conducted by Department of Premier and Cabinet chief executive Paul Case, include whether to empower the Parole Board 10 refuse to tree prisoners serving less than five years.

Sunday Mail (8-6-2003)
Megan Lloyd

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