Rapist stomped on unconscious inmate

David Witchall is due to be released from prison at the start of next year but that may change...
David Witchall is due to be released from prison at the start of next year but that may change after he is sentenced later this month. PHOTO: STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
A Dunedin rapist will likely be spending longer behind bars after repeatedly stomping on an unconscious inmate during a jailhouse attack.

David Michael Witchall, 34, was jailed for more than nine years in 2015 and was due to see the Parole Board six months ago to make another bid for early release.

That hearing was postponed because of new allegations against the Black Power member, the details of which can now be revealed after the court granted an Otago Daily Times application to view the documents.

On March 18, while serving his time at Christchurch Men’s Prison, Witchall and another gang member were in the now-decommissioned Kauri unit for high-security prisoners.

The defendant was in the kit locker - where inmates exchange clothing, towels and bedding for fresh items - and called to the victim.

As the man walked over, he was followed by Witchall’s 44-year-old co-defendant, who punched him from behind, rendering him unconscious.

"The victim regained consciousness as both defendants were stomping and kicking his head and body," a Crown summary said.

He estimated his attackers each kicked him about five times.

The assault only stopped when other prisoners intervened.

Court documents noted the victim was left with a fractured cheekbone and nose, and severe bruising around both eyes.

The attack took place just weeks after Witchall had seen the Parole Board and been declined release for the third time.

On that occasion the board heard he had been "demanding and abusive" towards staff and had recently lost privileges because of damage to property and violence.

Witchall continued to deny the sex crimes that landed him behind bars and was assessed as a high risk of further violence and above-average risk of further sexual offending.

His nine-year term was imposed for a variety of sex charges against young women.

Witchall met a 16-year-old through a mutual friend and became angry when she refused a hug. He led her to a basement carpark and said she could only leave once they had sex.

He was also convicted of grooming four under-16s.

Witchall bombarded them with messages until they agreed to meet, and when they did, he indecently assaulted them.

His sentence is due to expire at the start of next year but an additional jail term would push that date back.

Witchall pleaded guilty to injuring with intent to injure and will be sentenced in the Christchurch District Court at the end of this month.

Course of conduct 

Feb 2015: Witchall is jailed for nine years and two months on a slew of sex charges.

Sept 2019: Declined parole after racking up 10 misconducts behind bars.

Jan 2022: Rejected by Parole Board again amid allegations of prison violence.

Mar 2022: Repeatedly stomps on unconscious man, breaking his nose and cheekbone.

Oct 2023: Witchall will be sentenced in the Christchurch District Court.