‘I would have thrown away the key’: father’s feelings of deja vu as man who killed his daughter allegedly attacks woman at bus stop

Killed: Vanessa Hoson. The bus stop where the alleged attack took place. Photo: Ben Rushton
Shanghai night field

Murderer on parole ‘trying to kill again’

If it was up to Keith Hoson, the man who raped and murdered his daughter Vanessa in 1990 would have been locked away forever.

“I would have thrown away the key, for sure,” said the heartbroken father who has spent the past 24 years coming to terms with an event that tore his family apart.

Instead, the 46-year-old convicted rapist and murderer was released on parole last August and on Wednesday night was arrested for allegedly bashing, stabbing and attempting to rape a woman at a Hunters Hill bus stop in an attack that was interrupted by a passing motorist.

Terrence Leary has been charged with eight offences and is accused of wounding the woman with intent to murder.

A horrible sense of deja vu came over Mr Hoson when he received a call from the NSW State Parole Authority on Thursday morning to tell him that Terrence Leary, the man who raped Vanessa in their Kenthurst home, bashed her with a hammer and dumped her body in a Dural car park, was once again behind bars.

“When he had his trial originally, the psychiatrist said he didn’t think he could ever be rehabilitated,” said Mr Hoson, 68, who moved to the mid north coast when he retired 14 years ago.

“Each time he came up for parole, I would go down to Sydney for the parole meetings and they rejected him for about eight or nine years. From what I understand he wouldn’t admit to what he did and he wouldn’t take on any courses or anything like that.”

But Mr Hoson is not angry that Leary was eventually released on parole after serving 22-and-a-half years of his sentence.

He would rather that than he be kept in prison until January 2014 when his sentence would have been completed and he would have been released into the community without any monitoring.

Instead, he despairs that Leary would ever be allowed out of jail at all.

When the sentence of 24 years with a non-parole period of 15 years was handed down, Mr Hoson said he had “lost respect for society”.

“We don’t know why it happened. There’s nothing I can say to explain it – we’ve just lost all respect for society,” he said in 1990.

Vanessa’s mother Helen, who lives in Sydney, said at the time that she prayed the killer would get a life sentence.

“You are supposed to die before your children,” she told a newspaper.

The judge said Leary suffered an abnormal personality and had consumed alcohol and probably smoked marijuana before he left a Kellyville party, drove to the Hosons’ home and climbed in Vanessa’s bedroom window.

The judge said Leary was a “danger to the community” and would not be released during the maximum term of 24 years unless assessments showed he was no longer dangerous.

These days, Mr Hoson has accepted the fact that the punishment was the maximum penalty available to the judge at the time but it is still cold comfort for him.

“I didn’t get vicious until about 12 months after Vanessa’s death,” he said. “It’s the sort of thing that affects people in different ways. At first it just stunned me but then I got really angry and if I had’ve got hold of him then I’d have probably ended up in jail too.

“There was a time when I could be driving down Parramatta Road and all of a sudden I’d burst out in tears. It’s something you handle in different ways.

“I think after a while, you come to realise that all you can do is adjust for the fact that he’s been given what he’s been given and there’s not much you can do about it unless you know somebody very important.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.