Snowtown accomplice Mark Haydon set for prison release

Snowtown murders accomplice Mark Haydon is set to be released from prison, 25 years after the bodies of eight victims were found in acid-filled barrels north of Adelaide.

Feb 21, 2024, updated Feb 21, 2024
The former bank building where dismembered bodies were stored in barrels. Photo Rob Hutchison/AAP (2002)

The former bank building where dismembered bodies were stored in barrels. Photo Rob Hutchison/AAP (2002)

The South Australian parole board granted Haydon’s parole on Wednesday, saying he was well-behaved during his 18-year imprisonment.

Haydon was set to be released in May and SA parole board chair Frances Nelson KC said he would be released earlier to allow supervision.

“His institutional behaviour has been excellent throughout his incarceration,” she said on Wednesday.

“In our view, the community and he would benefit from a period of supervision on parole prior to (his release).”

He will first be placed in the low-security Adelaide pre-release centre and will be under electronic monitoring until May.

“Not because we think it’s really necessary from his perspective but it will give some reassurance to the community given the notoriety of his offences and the fact it’s attracted so much coverage,” she said.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said the state government would consider appealing the parole board’s decision.

“I understand in terms of the parole board’s deliberations that the government now has… the opportunity to potentially appeal that decision,” Malinauskas told parliament a short time ago.

“That will be considered and naturally the government and appropriate agencies will take advice in that regard.”

Malinauskas said the government has been advised it has a 60-day window for a potential appeal.

“We will take our time to get the appropriate advice, naturally the parole board’s only announced its decision in the last couple of hours,” he said.

The decision comes after the Malinauskas Government introduced new legislation to parliament on Tuesday designed to widen the definition of a high-risk offender to include those convicted of assisting an offender.

Current laws mean Haydon will not be under supervision when he is officially released in May.

Attorney-General Kyam Maher said the new laws would allow the government to apply for parole conditions as long as the Supreme Court agrees.

“This legislation is about fixing what we saw as a gap in the high risk offenders scheme,” Maher said on Wednesday.

“The case of Mr Haydon shone a light on that gap.”

Maher would not say whether the government supported the parole board’s decision.

“It’s not for a government to say we do or don’t support it,” he said.

Haydon was jailed for at least 18 years for assisting John Bunting and Robert Wagner in seven of the 11 Snowtown killings.

Bunting was convicted of 11 counts of murder and Wagner 10.

Both are serving life sentences with no chance of parole.

Their murder spree killed eight people whose dismembered bodies were found in acid-filled barrels in the vault of a disused bank in Snowtown, north of Adelaide, in 1999.


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