19 Sep 2009

Prison blade from pencil sharpener - Corrections

4:04 pm on 19 September 2009

The Corrections Department says that a blade used by convicted murderer George Baker during a hostage incident at Auckland Prison came from a pencil sharpener.

According to court documents, Baker used two razor blades and a handmade stabbing device during an 11-hour standoff in the prison's maximum security wing last month.

The department says, however, that there was only one blade, and it came from a pencil sharpener taken from a recreation room. Shaving blades could not have been used, it says, because no such blades were issued to inmates of the special needs unit where Baker was kept.

The department's assistant regional manager, Jeanette Burns, says that inmates - especially ones like Baker - will fashion anything out of most items they can get their hands on. Pencil sharpeners have now been removed from the unit's recreation room.

New rules introduced in May

Baker is serving a life sentence for murdering teenager Liam Ashley in the back of a prison van in August 2006.

Liam's father, Ian Ashley, has previously questioned how Baker came to have razor blades, saying that staff obviously failed to follow the rules and allowed him access to them.

New rules introduced in May forbid high-security, remand and youth prisoners from having blades in their cells.

Baker appeared in North Shore District Court on Friday charged with kidnapping, assault with a weapon and threatening to kill. He is to reappear on 20 November.