Corrections officer killer admits two more assaults

A dangerous high-security prisoner who killed a Corrections officer has pleaded guilty to assaulting two more.

Latu Kepu is already serving a prison sentence for the manslaughter of prison guard Jason Palmer.

He appeared at the North Shore District Court today where he has previously pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting prison guards during two separate incidents at Auckland's maximum security Paremoremo Prison.

It is understood both officers were taken to hospital and treated for injuries in October last year. Neither was seriously hurt and both returned to work soon after.

Cuffed and flanked by six prison guards, Kepu stood in the dock today while his lawyer Lucy Smith told the court that her client is currently being treated at the secure psychiatric hospital, the Mason Clinic.

She also said that there may be grounds for an application to change her client's guilty pleas but she needed to take further instructions.

Judge Philippa Sinclair remanded Kepu in custody to the Mason Clinic, and he is due back in court next month.

Kepu is currently serving a six-year and four-month prison sentence for killing Mr Palmer in May 2010. Mr Palmer was opening Kepu's cell door to escort him to the exercise yard when he was attacked. He fell backwards and hit his head on concrete paving, causing fatal head injuries.

At the time, Kepu was in prison after being convicted for violent assaults including repeatedly kicking a police officer in the head and attacking a pregnant woman.

- Edward Gay APNZ court reporter

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