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HomeAus & NZInmates asked for prisoner to be moved before critical injury

Inmates asked for prisoner to be moved before critical injury

'Quick read' news summary

Prisoners say they asked corrections staff to relocate a mentally unwell inmate who was subsequently hit, critically injured, and died more than a year later.

Grant Steven Bowden, 47, was struck by inmate Nyal Heke, falling backward and hitting his head on the concrete during a fight at the Otago Corrections Facility on 3 November, 2017.

It resulted in a severe disability and he died in December 2018 following a chest infection.

A coronial inquest is underway in the Dunedin District Court to review his death, whether it was preventable and if prison and health staff adequately managed and supported him.

Grant Bowden was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his late teens, and had initially been placed in the at-risk unit at the prison before asking to be moved into the remand unit.

Nyal Heke told the inquest he asked a staff member for Bowden to be removed from the wing because he was trying to pick fights, and said he was trying to fight on the day of the incident.

He described the exercise yard as a hostile, and said quite a few fights had occurred there.

The corrections staff could see the yard and should have intervened when they saw signs of a fight, he said.

“He turned towards me with his hands up ready to hit me, so I squared off too, facing him. Grant Bowden then started moving around the yard, swinging his arms towards me and kicking out.

“I was trying not to hit him because I did not want to hurt him, so I avoided him for as long as could and I hoped that staff would see what was happening and intervene.”

But they did not, and Nyal Heke said he started to get

Prisoners say they asked corrections staff to relocate a mentally unwell inmate who was subsequently hit, critically injured, and died more than a year later. Grant Steven Bowden, 47, was struck by inmate Nyal Heke, falling backward and hitting his head on the concrete during a fight at the Otago Corrections Facility on 3 November, 2017. The corrections staff could see the yard and should have intervened when they saw signs of a fight, he said.

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