Dixon found banging head on window
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 10:39a.m.
By Dan Satherley
An inquest into the prison death of Antonie Dixon, one of New Zealand’s most notorious killers, has heard of his inconsistent behaviour leading up to his death.
Dixon managed to strangle himself on February 4, 2009, despite being in Paremoremo Prison's high-risk unit.
Prison Health Centre manager Maureen Brown says notes taken in the days leading up to his death show Dixon alternated between taking his medication and being cooperative, and refusing help and displaying aggressive behaviour.
On the morning of February 3, the day before he died, Dixon was recorded as being “very agitated” and reportedly “unable to sustain a conversation”.
Ms Brown says the notes indicate Dixon was accusing prison staff of trying to kill him.
His physical condition was also of concern. He had a scalp laceration 5cm long and abrasions on his wrists, one of which was becoming infected. Dixon was prescribed antibiotics, which he took.
That afternoon, Dixon was interviewed by forensic psychiatrist Dr Krishna Pillai, who yesterday described him as the most difficult patient he ever had.
Dr Pillai recommended taking Dixon off the tie-down bed, getting him to drink more water and continuing with the antibiotics.
The next day, February 4, Dixon refused to take his medication. He told staff he would not take any more antibiotics unless it was administered by his own GP, but wouldn’t say who that was.
Coroner Garry Evans questioned whether Dixon even had a GP, considering the length of time he had been in custody.
Ms Brown said it was common for prisoners to refuse medication one day, then go back to taking it the next, so Dixon’s refusal wasn’t considered unusual.
Doctors noted Dixon that morning was “aggressive” and “physically active”. His temperature and blood pressure were in the normal range, and he still had the infection in his left hand.
Yesterday the inquest heard that Dixon likely had access to methamphetamine while in prison, and his history of self-harm had not been passed on to the guard looking after him on the day of his death.
The inquiry enters its second day today and prison bosses will be questioned this morning.
CCTV footage shows reaction to death
Police say there are two sets of CCTV footage showing Dixon and his cell on the day he died.
One camera, situated inside the cell, shows Dixon being led in by Corrections staff. He is later seen naked, before obscuring the view with wet toilet paper.
The other camera is located outside the cell. It shows Corrections officers doing their checks on the prisoners, and the sequence of events following Dixon’s self-strangulation, described in detail yesterday by nurse G Pontanosas and the prison officer who discovered Dixon’s body, who has name suppression.
Coroner Garry Evans says there is no reason to show the footage in open court, as it is five hours long and doesn’t provide any new evidence.
Police say the footage merely confirms the evidence and sequence of events given in court yesterday.
It was shown to Dixon’s family members prior to the opening of day two of the inquest. Julian Dixon, Antonie’s brother, said he had no objection to the footage being released. Nor did Corrections.
Mr Evans said if released, media outlets would have to censor Dixon’s naked and dead body, and pixellate faces of any Corrections staff.
TVNZ, TV3 and Fairfax all made requests for the footage.
Dixon found banging head against window
Bronwyn Donaldson, Corrections acting national health manager, says Dixon would have been better looked after in a forensic mental health unit, as opposed to prison.
On the morning of February 2, two days before he died, Dixon was banging his head on the window of his cell door at Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP). He had lacerations on his head and blood on his face. He had urinated at the door to his cell, and would not stay still.
Dixon appeared “wild-eyed”, and was pacing around the door of his cell at 9am.
Half an hour later, he was described by prison medical staff as “out of control”, banging his head and in a “heightened state of emotional arousal”.
By 10:30am, he had quietened down, and was observed sitting with his back to the wall, moving his legs. But whenever a Corrections officer or cleaner approached his cell, his agitation would “elevate rapidly”.
At 1pm, he was standing still at the door to his cell, staring through the window. By 2:45pm, it was decided he would be shifted from ACRP to Paremoremo, where he was incarcerated in an at-risk unit.
The Mason Clinic, which dealt with prisoners with mental health issues had 100 percent occupancy at the time however, and another prisoner would have to leave before Dixon could be admitted. Prison staff were struggling to treat Dixon, as it was unsafe.
Ms Donaldson says there is currently a waiting list at the Mason Clinic, as they do not have enough beds to meet demand and virtually always runs at 100 percent capacity.
“I’ve never known there to be a shortage of beds,” she says.
At-risk bedding, gowns introduced after death
Dixon is believed to have used a piece of fabric torn off either his bed or his gown to strangle himself.
“Since this event we have implemented new at-risk bedding and at-risk gowns that are not rippable,” says Ms Donaldson.
Several questions to Ms Donaldson from public watchdog and activist Penny Bright were dismissed by Coroner Garry Evans. Ms Bright asked questions surrounding the Bill of Rights, the Animal Welfare Act and Corrections’ policies around staffing numbers.
Mr Evans said questions relating to the Animal Welfare Act were “not relevant” to the case, and questions concerning prison staffing numbers could not be answered by Ms Donaldson, as she was only concerned with prisoners’ health.
Ms Bright apologised, saying she must have taken “thick pills” this morning.
The coroner then advised it was time for a break.
Antonie Dixon’s criminal past
Dixon shot one person dead and attacked another two with a samurai sword during a P-fuelled rampage in January 2003.
He died in Auckland's Paremoremo Prison in February 2009, six months after he was found guilty of the attacks. It was the day before he was due to be sentenced.
It is understood he died from head and neck injuries, and his death was self-inflicted.
Dixon first attacked Simonne Butler and Renee Gumbie with a samurai sword while high on methamphetamine in Pipiroa, near Thames, on January 21, 2003.
The attacks severed or partially severed their hands.
Later that evening, he murdered James Te Aute in suburban Auckland, shooting him several times in the back.
Dixon was first found guilty in 2005, but his convictions were quashed in 2007. At a retrial in 2008, he was again found guilty.
Dixon's defence was that he was insane, but prosecutors said that although he had a personality disorder, he knew what he was doing during his rampage.
His lawyer Barry Hart said Dixon had a "terrible background", and was abused as a child by parents who were more focused on their religion than raising their son.
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28/08/2012 4:58:35 p.m.
i hope the window was'nt broken or damaged
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