‘Baby-faced killer’ denied parole over Tania Burgess murder
EXCLUSIVE: The "baby-faced killer" who stabbed a Central Coast teenager 48 times as she walked home from school has been refused parole in a surprise move by the NSW State Parole Authority.
The now 29-year-old, known only as DL for legal reasons, was denied release on his first application for parole after serving just 13 years for the frenzied stabbing murder of 15-year-old Tania Burgess in 2005.
Burgess' family have fiercely protested DL's early release since his maximum sentence was reduced by four years on appeal in December and said they were "relieved" by the decision.
"I thought, 'oh my God' we've got relief for 12 months! Because this thing's been going on for years and years, since the trial," said Tania's mother, Mandy Burgess, 56.
"I look at it like a Band-Aid's been placed over it … and that Band-Aid will come off again."
It is understood concerns around DL's violent behaviour prompted the refusal and the offender was advised to participate in a 12-week violence management program to help facilitate his release in the future.
"Reasons for the intention to refuse parole included the need for his offending behaviour to be addressed," said a State Parole Authority spokeswoman.
The Serious Offenders Review Council also advised that "release to parole was not appropriate".
DL will now have 12 weeks to request a public review hearing of the Parole Authority's decision.
If he does not request a review, the Parole Authority determines whether the offender can seek parole in one, two or three years.
The ferociousness of DL's attack on Tania, which saw the then 16-year-old follow his victim from a Forrester's Beach bus stop and into a secluded car park before repeatedly stabbing her with a kitchen knife, terrified the local community.
Although no clear motive for the murder was confirmed, it has been theorised he had a romantic obsession with the schoolgirl.
In 2008, DL was sentenced to a maximum sentence of 22 years, with a non-parole period of 17 years.
Despite making no admission of guilt or remorse in the years since, and corrections staff warning he "would kill again" if released, his sentence was reduced on appeal to a maximum of 18-years, with a non-parole period of 13-years.
The reduction was based on DL's youth and questionable mental state at the time of his offence and his earliest possible release date was backdated to 18 July 2018, with his sentence expiring on 18 July, 2023.
In a Change.org petition to Corrections Minister David Elliott, the Burgess family campaigned against his release and for violent juvenile offenders to have suppression orders on their identity lifted once they turn 18.
The petition currently has more than 110,000 signatories.
"If he really wants to come after me, he'll come after me and that frightens me," said Mrs Burgess, who alleges she was attacked by DL during a home invasion in the month before her daughter's murder.
She still suffers from PTSD as a result and fears without DL's identification the public will be left vulnerable.
"I will keep fighting because it's not just about us," she said.
"I just don't want to see him hurting anybody else, I don't want to hear in the papers down the track that he's done this again."
Click here to sign the Burgess family's petition to have name suppression laws amended.