Triple murderer Berwyn Rees has been released from Sydney’s Silverwater prison after almost four decades behind bars – and will be subjected to the toughest parole conditions in Australia.
The 69-year-old walked calmly from the complex in the city’s western suburbs this morning carrying a large plastic bag of belongings, before being whisked away in a white van.
He said nothing as he left.
Rees was sentenced to life behind bars for murdering gun shop owner Ray James and customer Christopher Greenfield in Bondi Junction during an armed robbery in 1977 and later for the 1980 shooting death of NSW police sergeant Keith Hayden.
He served 38 years in jail but in a decision that shocked the victims’ families he was granted parole earlier this month.
Under strict parole conditions that will last the rest of his life, Rees has to wear an electronic monitor, is banned from eight local council areas and must not contact the families of his victims.
The release has enraged the families who feel he should be in jail for life.
Tracy James, the daughter of Ray James, started a public petition opposing Rees’ release which over 30,000 people signed.
“I was only two years old when my father was murdered in cold-blood – execution style,” she wrote.
“This murderer is highly intelligent, cold and calculating and has never shown any remorse.”
On Wednesday, she issued an update acknowledging Rees would walk free and she had done everything she could do.
“I fought until the end.”
Rees completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major whilst incarcerated.
He was refused parole 10 times between 2007 and 2018 and in May this year it was initially granted before the Supreme Court reversed the parole board’s decision.
In a media statement, Corrections Minister Anthony Roberts said when the parole board made another application this month, it was on the basis of expert evidence that Rees was at low risk of reoffending.
Mr Roberts said he received legal advice that any appeal of this second application would fail.