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You will never be released…

Stephen Williams pointed at photographers and said “I’m going to kill you” in the High Court at Wellington on Friday. PHOTO/rnz.co.nz

Coral’s killer gets second sentence of preventive detention

The man who killed six-year-old Featherston girl Coral-Ellen Burrows 16 years ago was sentenced to preventive detention on Friday for the attempted murder of another man in prison by throwing boiling water on him and stabbing him several times.

During sentencing for trying to kill the other man, Stephen Roger Williams also loudly threatened to kill media gathered in the courtroom.

The 45-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty in the High Court at Wellington to a charge of attempted murder of a 47-year-old fellow inmate.

Williams is serving a life sentence for murder after he beat Burrows to death while high on methamphetamine in September 2003, then dumped her body by Lake Onoke [Ferry] in Wairarapa.

According to a summary of facts on the most recent offending, on July 31 in Rimutaka Prison, Williams first met the victim the day before when he moved into the cell next to him, and he had offered him a cigarette.

But the next day Corrections officers searched his cell and found tobacco – a contraband item – leading Williams to believe the victim had informed on him.

Williams sharpened a plastic knife using the blade from a pencil sharpener.

He went to the communal hot water Zip and filled his one-litre flask with boiling water, then walked into the victim’s cell and threw the boiling water over him.

“The defendant began striking him in the neck area with the sharpened knife,” the summary said.

The victim managed to fight back and escape to the guard hut.

He suffered four stab wounds – one to the back of the head and three to the back of his neck – and burn injuries.

In explanation, Williams said he planned to kill the victim by stabbing him in the throat.

Williams is also in preventive detention after the attempted murder of a prisoner at Paremoremo in 2016 who he stabbed with a broken piece of fluorescent light tube and a broken broom.

Two years earlier he’d stabbed another prisoner repeatedly in the face and neck with a sharpened toothbrush.

Crown prosecutor Grant Burston said all three attacks were planned, the intent was to kill, and Williams “expressed disappointment at the fact the victim was not killed”.

Justice Peter Churchman laid out Williams’ previous attempted murders, describing them as “callous, brutal and cowardly”, which caused Williams to swear under his breath. Williams had 98 previous convictions.

A psychologist’s report on Williams stated he appeared to be “motivated in part by [the] desire to be sentenced to life without possibility of parole”.

“You will never be released until you are no longer a threat,” Justice Churchman told Williams.

It was a matter of principle to impose a sentence of preventive detention, even though Williams was already on one, he said.

He sentenced him to preventive detention with a minimum period of 14 years in prison. — NZME

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