Corrections apologises to Ron Burrows after confusion over Stephen Williams’ court date

Corrections has apologised to the father of murdered schoolgirl Coral Burrows after a miscommunication led to him missing Stephen Williams’ sentencing last week. 

Ron Burrows’ daughter was murdered by Williams in 2003. 

Ron Burrows has received an apology from Corrections after a communication bungle led him to miss Stephen Williams' sentencing.

MARK TAYLOR/STUFF

Ron Burrows has received an apology from Corrections after a communication bungle led him to miss Stephen Williams’ sentencing.

Williams beat the six-year-old to death before leaving her body on the shores of Lake Ferry in Wairarapa. 

While serving a life sentence for her murder, Williams, 45, has been charged three times for serious prison assaults. 

The most recent happened in July, when he threw boiling water over a fellow inmate and then proceeded to stab him in the neck and face. 

Burrows was expecting Corrections to call and inform him of when Williams’ sentencing was taking place.

Instead, Corrections sent Burrows an email which went to his spam folder.

Stephen Williams pictured at his sentencing at the High Court in Wellington.

STUFF

Stephen Williams pictured at his sentencing at the High Court in Wellington.

The first he heard Williams had been sentenced on Friday to preventive detention was when a journalist from Stuff contacted him. 

Seeing Williams’ face in the media on Friday caught his family unaware, and left them in a state of shock, he said. 

“When I was watching him on the television I turned back and saw my son had gone. I found him in his room sobbing. 

“I realise now that Corrections are allowing him to hurt my children who are still alive. 

“This has to stop.” 

Coral-Ellen Burrows, murdered in Featherston in 2003 by Stephen Williams.

Coral-Ellen Burrows, murdered in Featherston in 2003 by Stephen Williams.

Corrections had since contacted Burrows to explain the bungle and apologise.

Previously, Corrections had failed to inform Burrows – who is a registered victim – of Williams’ most recent assault.

Instead, Burrows found out via the media. 

Not knowing when Williams was going to be sentenced had robbed him of the opportunity to look him in the eye. 

Williams has amassed nearly 100 convictions. He is one of a handful of people sentenced twice to preventive detention.

STUFF

Williams has amassed nearly 100 convictions. He is one of a handful of people sentenced twice to preventive detention.

“I really need to be able to confront him. I need to do it for me, Coral and my children.

“He is a coward. A gutless, poor excuse for a human.” 

Prison director for Rimutaka and Arohata prisons Viv Whelan told Stuff she had called Burrows herself to apologise. 

“This does not change the fact that this can be an extremely distressing process for victims,” she said. 

“I also spoke with a member of Mr Burrows’ family last night following the sentencing to provide assurance about Steven Williams’ placement and management moving forward.” 

Burrows’ family would be kept up to date with William’s management inside Auckland Prison, Whelan said.  

Williams – who has amassed nearly 100 convictions – is one of only a few people to be sentenced twice to preventive detention. 

Friday’s hearing was marked by aggression, with William’s telling a photographer in court: “You stare me down again and I will f…ing kill you.”

MARK TAYLOR/STUFF

Ron Burrows, father of Coral-Ellen Burrows, is furious after hearing his daughter’s killer has allegedly attacked another inmate in Rimutaka Prison.