20th time unlucky for elderly woman's strangling murderer

The murder in the 1970s was described as involving extreme violence.
The murder in the 1970s was described as involving extreme violence. John Weekes

HE HAS been turned down for parole about 20 times.

So a judge said there was no dispute Mervyn James Rielly was unhappy at another parole rejection.

Rielly is serving life imprisonment in Wolston jail in Wacol, and first became eligible for parole in 1988.

He was locked up for a murder that a psychiatrist said involved "very high levels of violence and strangulation”.

In 1975, the 29-year-old Toowoomba labourer pleaded not guilty to having murdered 82-year-old shopkeeper Pearl Muriel Tilbury on November 29 that year, The Age reported at the time.

The parole board refused to release Rielly on November 11 last year.

There was no question Rielly was "aggrieved” at that decision, Justice Sue Brown said in a new Supreme Court judgment.

The murderer argued the parole board took an "irrelevant consideration into account” when deciding to keep him locked up.

Rielly said the board relied on a psychiatric report that included claims the murder victim's genitals had been interfered with.

But evidence in the original criminal case indicated no such interference, or any sexual attack, Rielly argued.

Another psychiatric report suggested Rielly continued to "minimise, justify and rationalise his offending behaviour”.

Some of the reports the board considered were from 2004 and 2007.

The parole board conceded there was no forensic evidence of injuries to the murder victim's genitals.

Justice Brown said the Prisoners' Legal Service asked for a new, independent assessment of Rielly last year.

The legal service said no psychologist or psychiatrist had interviewed Rielly since he completed "intervention programs in custody”.

The request for a new risk assessment was reasonable, the judge said, but "unfortunately was not taken up by the board”.

The parole board said when deciding to keep him in prison, it did not rely on the disputed sexual allegation.

The board insisted it took into account the murder alone, as well as Rielly's previous criminal history, which was described as "serious”.

Justice Brown said the law gave "broad discretion to the board in deciding whether to grant or refuse an application for parole”.

She said the board did not rely on irrelevant material when deciding to keep Rielly jailed.

The killer's parole bids had been rejected "approximately 20” times before, Justice Brown said.

His appeal was dismissed. -NewsRegional  

Topics:  ipswich mervyn james rielly murderer parole board strangulation toowoomba violence wacol

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