Prison attack: ‘I just lost my self-control’

A murderer who attacked another murderer while behind bars explained: "I just lost my self-control. I pretty much kicked him in the head."

Sonny-Boy Maratana Makoare’s outburst was the latest in a life littered with serious violence by him and those close to him, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

The 37-year-old witnessed his mother kill a man with an axe while he was being raised in the North Island.

When Makoare was placed in his father’s care he was surrounded by drugs, violence and gang members.

His background could "only be described as horrific", Judge Michael Turner said.

While living in the Auckland suburb of Otara, he stabbed Rashley Walker to death when he was just 15, and had since spent more than half his life locked up, counsel Sophia Thorburn said.

Despite that, he was generally regarded as "a well-behaved prisoner", Judge Michael Turner.

On January 31, however, Makoare snapped.

He was in the exercise yard at the Otago Corrections Facility, when fellow convicted murderer Ronayne Dempsey made a brief comment.

Makoare kicked the inmate in the head, knocking him out.

Mr Dempsey hit his head on the concrete floor and the defendant was walked away by another prisoner.

The victim was placed in the recovery position while Makoare continued exercising.

Medical staff noted grazes to the back of Dempsey’s head, swelling, a sprained shoulder, a tender jaw and concussion.

He reported ongoing daily headaches.

Dempsey was sentenced in the High Court at Nelson in 2016 to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years after being found guilty of murdering 46-year-old Bruce Mortimer.

The jury heard the events began as a disagreement over morphine tablets that had gone missing from Mr Mortimer’s room some days earlier.

Makoare pleaded guilty almost immediately to a charge of injuring Dempsey with intent to injure.

Judge Turner sentenced him to 14 months’ jail.

As he was serving life imprisonment, any penalty was going to make little difference to his sentence.

It would, however, be taken into consideration by the Parole Board when it came to assessing whether he remained a risk to the community.


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