Vic hit-run killer breached parole in 2014

Vic hit-run killer breached parole in 2014

A Bendigo hotel worker reported 11 months ago that hit-run killer Thomas Towle was breaching his parole conditions by drinking at his pub.

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Towle, 44, was arrested at his home in Bendigo on Tuesday for unspecified parole breaches.

The hotel worker, who did not want to be identified, said he emailed a former member of the Adult Parole Board on October 1 last year to report that Towle was an occasional drinker and often associated with a suspected drug dealer at the hotel.

The email has been seen by Australian Associated Press along with a reply from its recipient.

She advised the worker the following day that she was no longer with the board but remained with the Department of Justice and would ensure the report was passed on to a manager for follow-up.

The worker said he heard nothing further.

He said Towle was not a big drinker.

“He didn’t have a bender, only a few pots, but I googled his parole conditions,” the worker told AAP.

The worker said he became aware of Towle’s identity when Towle began falsely claiming poker machines at the pub had swallowed his change.

“He would put $3 in machine and claim one or two wouldn’t register. It was only when I woke up to it that I took his name and number that I realised who it was,” he said.

Towle sometimes became aggressive when challenged but would leave when he was told police would be called if he did not.

Towle’s parole has been cancelled and he is now in custody.

The Adult Parole Board and Victoria Police have not confirmed why his parole was cancelled.

A Department of Justice spokesman said the report was passed on to the Adult Parole Board straight away.

“All appropriate procedures were followed and the information was sent on to the board as soon as it was received,” he told AAP.

An Adult Parole Board spokeswoman declined to comment on Towle’s case, citing privacy and corrections legislation.

She said offenders who breach parole must re-serve their parole time in prison.

In Towle’s case, that’s two years and two months.

But he may apply to the board have all or part of that parole time counted as time already served.

The six teenagers killed when Towle lost control of his car at Cardross, near Mildura in February 2006 were Shane Hirst, 16, his 17-year-old sister Abby Hirst, Stevie-Lee Weight, 15, and Cassandra Manners, Cory Dowling and Josephine Calvi, all aged 16.

Towle fled the scene, leaving his injured pre-schooler son in the car, before later handing himself to police.