Toupée, or not toupée


Convicted child sex offender Phillip Smith is trying to get his wig back

by Stephen Cook

Prison authorities have confiscated Phillip Smith’s hairpiece after comments on social media yesterday – and apparently the convicted killer and kiddy sex offender is none too pleased.

This isn’t the first time Smith’s hair-raising vanity has got the better of him.

When Smith was recaptured in November last year after fleeing to Brazil while on temporary release from Spring Hill Prison he went on a hunger strike, upset police refused to return his beloved toupee. At the time, his lawyer claimed police were trying to punish his client for his brazen escape out of the country.

Eventually the wig was returned to Smith, but this week it was confiscated again after word leaked out on Facebook yesterday.   

Smith is currently in protective segregation with 12 other inmates at maximum-security Paremoremo Prison. He is serving a life sentence of imprisonment for the brutal murder of a 35-year-old man, whose name has been permanently suppressed, in Wellington in 1995. He was also sentenced for serious sexual offending against the victim’s older son, for the aggravated burglary of the family home and for kidnapping the victim’s wife and younger son

It is understood Smith was granted home leave in November partly out of recognition for his assistance in the Nicholas Pike murder inquiry.

Wig wearing offender Phillip Smith bailing from NZ

Wig wearing offender Phillip Smith bailing from NZ

In 2010 Pike’s murderer, Stephen Thomas Hudson, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 16 years for the “callous” and premeditated “execution”-style murder of Pike on the Desert Rd in 2002.

At the time he was already serving a 12-year sentence for other crimes.

Smith met Hudson in prison and began cooperating with police when Hudson was identified as a suspect in the Pike murder. He’d been hoping his cooperation might lead to an early release from prison.

But Hudson knew Smith was a turncoat and couldn’t be trusted.

He gave Smith the location of where he claimed he’d buried Pike’s body – and Smith took the information straight to the police.

It was a ploy by Hudson to prove Smith was a prison snitch.

When police dug up the area they did find a body – but it wasn’t Pike’s.

Instead they discovered the corpse of a dead dog.

Now it appears Smith is talking again.

A prison inmate confirmed this week that he witnessed Smith being interviewed this week at Paremoremo Prison by two plain-clothes detectives “with large folders”.

“I’ve learnt to tell a lot from body language in such situations. When they (police) saw me looking at them I could tell Smith wasn’t the subject of the inquiries. I’m betting he’s snitching on a fellow inmate again,” said the prisoner.

He suspected Smith was being interviewed in connection with Levi Reuben’s alleged involvement in the death of Benton Parata, who was fatally bashed in his cell at Christchurch Men’s Prison on March 25 this year. Parata died six days later after his life support was switched off.

Reuben, Steven Betham, 36 and Akuhatua Tihi, 22, both of Nelson, have pleaded not guilty to Benton’s murder.

It is understood Smith met Reuben in Paremoremo after he was transferred earlier this year from Christchurch Prison.

cookStephen Cook is a multi award-winning journalist and former news editor and assistant editor of the Herald on Sunday.




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