Chair leg-wielding man pepper-sprayed

The man appeared at the Dunedin District Court this morning. Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
A Dunedin man’s string of violent crimes came to an end when police found him naked, wielding a chair leg and pepper-sprayed him into submission.

Liam Shane Marsh, 27, accrued the bulk of his seven most recent convictions while living in supported accommodation, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

Judge Dominic Flatley said a change of scene may be of "real benefit" to the defendant and sentenced him to 18 months’ intensive supervision, to be served at a facility in South Auckland.

Marsh was at the Otago Corrections Facility on February 9 when he was separated from another inmate after an argument broke out.

As he was led to his cell, he turned around and spat in the face of the Corrections officer.

After being released, Marsh’s aggressive behaviour continued.

In the space of two months he committed three assaults on care workers.

The first took place in June when the defendant had been taken out for a coffee and told to put out a cigarette which was suspected to contain cannabis.

On the way home from the outing, Marsh twice punched the staff member in the face.

Weeks later, while at the residence, the defendant was seen peering into a care worker’s car.

When he was confronted about his behaviour, he charged at the victim, "yelling and swearing", grabbed the man’s shirt and punched him in the arm.

The violence reached its zenith the next day.

Marsh was taken to task over sexual comments he made towards a staff member.

Workers went to check on the defendant after he locked himself in his room, prompting him to open the door and "powerfully" punch the victim in the head four times.

"I am going to f... everything up," Marsh said.

And he was true to his word.

As staff locked themselves in an office, they heard him on the rampage and later he tried to batter his way inside the room they were in.

Police who attended the scene saw numerous items of furniture destroyed, holes in the walls and Marsh had barricaded himself inside his room.

When they eventually forced entry, they found the defendant naked, with a chair leg raised over his shoulder.

He was arrested after being pepper-sprayed, court documents said.

A report noted Marsh’s "complex matrix of developmental trauma and dysfunction".

"Clearly prison is not the right place for Mr Marsh, he needs support in the community," Judge Flatley said.

"He needs to be properly cared for and he needs to have appropriate interventions to deal with the issues he very clearly has."