28 Feb 2018

Kiwi who died in NSW prison called for help twice, inquest told

11:02 am on 28 February 2018

An inquest into the death of a New Zealander in a New South Wales prison has been told of an 11-hour delay in officers responding to his calls for help.

Inside Paremoremo Prison

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The inquest heard Junior Togatuki - also known as Junior Fenika - used his intercom twice to alert officers that he'd harmed himself.

He bled to death and his body was found the next day.

The 23-year-old was awaiting deportation to New Zealand, which he left when he was 4-year-old, when he died in September 2015.

His seven-year sentence for robbery and assault had ended in August, but he was kept in a high-security prison in New South Wales waiting to be deported.

ABC journalist Brooke Wylie told Morning Report one suggested cause for the delay in responding to the alarms was the broadcast of a rugby league semi-final.

"We did hear from one corrections officer who was on duty that night and couldn't recall whether the game was being televised in the common room."

The officer said protocol was to respond to alarms in person and to wear protective gear because of Fenika's history of violence.