11 Jan 2010

Double killer dies in Wanganui prison

8:56 pm on 11 January 2010

Convicted killer Rufus Marsh has died in prison.

The Corrections Department confirms he was found dead last Tuesday at Wanganui prison.

Rufus Junior Marsh, 53, had been in prison for more than two decades after being convicted of murdering Diane Miller in her home in Wellington in 1986.

He was previously convicted of manslaughter after an elderly man was beaten to death in Wellington in 1974.

Marsh was denied parole in September last year.

In its judgement, the Parole Board quoted a psychologist's report which said Marsh might be one of the very few prisoners who might have to resign themselves to spending his entire life in prison.

The department says Marsh's death is not thought to be suspicious. However, the death will be referred to a coroner and an independent review will also be held.

Marsh's death has been met with relief by a friend of Ms Miller. Lyndsey Gilbert says she was fearful, knowing that Marsh would one day be released from jail.

She also hopes it would bring relief to Ms Miller's mother, who she says was destroyed by her daughter's murder.

Other prison deaths

Marsh is not the only prisoner to die in custody recently.

Glenn Mills, an HIV positive man accused of deliberately infecting people with the disease was found dead at the Auckland Remand Centre at Mt Eden Prison in November.

A notorious sex offender, Taffy Hotene, was also found dead in Wanganui prison in November.

In February last year, convicted killer Antonie Dixon died in Auckland Prison at Paremoremo.