No extra jail time for inmate who stabbed RSA killer's eye

BY IAN STEWARD
Last updated 05:00 20/10/2010

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RSA triple-murderer William Bell was stabbed through the eye by another prisoner because of his continued gloating and "derogatory remarks" about what he did to his victims, a court has heard.

Dean Joseph Shepherd, 49, was yesterday sentenced for stabbing Bell in the left eye in a frenzied attack in the telephone room at Auckland Prison, at Paremoremo, in December 2007.

Shepherd, who is serving a minimum 17-year sentence for the 2004 murder of his landlord, Darunee Aphiromlerk, said he stabbed Bell because he kept making "derogatory remarks" about his victims.

Bell is serving the country's longest sentence – a 30-year minimum term – for the murder of three staff at the Mt Wellington-Panmure RSA in 2001.

Lawyer Paul Heaslip said Bell had been "gloating about conduct that put him into prison" and threatening Shepherd and his cellmate. CCTV footage showed Shepherd, who was cleaning the floors, enter the room where Bell was sitting talking on the telephone.

Justice Pamela Andrews said after appearing to "psych himself up" Shepherd dipped into his mop bucket and pulled out a shank made of the sharpened workings of a lever-arch file.

He stabbed Bell from behind, puncturing him through the eyelid, and then stabbed and punched him in the head as he fell to the ground.

Bell sustained internal bleeding that produced an infarction and "stroke-like symptoms".

Mr Heaslip said Shepherd was paranoid at the time from changing anti-psychotic medication. He was "extremely sorry" for what he had done and had "made his peace" with Bell.

The case was heard in the High Court at Auckland to consider an open-ended sentence of preventive detention.

Justice Andrews declined the option as Shepherd was already serving an indeterminate life sentence and it was impossible to know whether he would be a danger when he was eligible for parole consideration in 2022, aged 61.

Instead, a finite sentence of 10 years was imposed concurrent with his minimum 17-year sentence – in effect not altering his term.

Shepherd has been convicted of assaulting a fellow inmate in the past – stabbing a man in the face with a pencil at the urging of other prisoners "because of the type of offending" he was in for.

Shepherd grew up in Northland, the third eldest of nine children to alcoholic and abusive parents. He was drinking at seven, into solvent abuse by 11, cannabis at 16 and amphetamines and methamphetamine from age 18.

The former Mongrel Mob member murdered Ms Aphiromlerk in 2004 over the rent.

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- The Dominion Post

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