Homicide investigation launched following assault at Christchurch Men’s Prison

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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Police – Homicide investigation launched following assault at Christchurch Men’s Prison

Canterbury Police can confirm that the investigation into a serious assault of a sentenced prisoner at Christchurch Men’s Prison on Wednesday (25 March 2015) morning has been elevated into a homicide investigation.

The victim can now be named as 44 year old Benton Marni Parata from Rangiora.

“Benton sustained serious injuries and has remained on life support in the Intensive Care Unit at Christchurch Hospital since the incident.  Life support was turned off on Sunday afternoon (29 March 2015) and he died in the early hours of this morning (31 March 2015).  We have officers supporting Benton’s family and the services of Victim Support have been offered to them” explained  Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Worner.

A spokesperson from Benton’s family has provided the following statement and two photographs for media “Sadly we have lost our dear big brother Benton Marni Parata.  He was dearly loved by his family and friends and leaves a huge hole that can’t be filled. All that knew him, knew that he lived life by the drop. A true free spirit and a man with a huge heart who would give his last dollar if you needed it or the shirt of his back. To be cruelly and cowardly taken from us is very hard to accept.  He was very popular and seemed to be able to charm his way through most things. He was a very talented sportsman: Basketball,  Rugby League, Softball and any other sport that he put his hand to. Unfortunately not fulfilling his true potential.  A Champion for the oppressed and our kai ti aki he was a dearly cherished and beloved Son, Father, Uncle, Great uncle, Nephew, Cousin and friend.  We love you forever.  Rest in peace.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Worner said “The full results for the post mortem, which is scheduled to occur this morning  (31 March 2015), will not be available for some time.  A scene examination at the Prison was completed on Saturday morning (28 March 2015) and inquiries into the incident are continuing”

As the Police homicide investigation remains at a relatively early stage Canterbury Police will not be releasing any further details at this time or commenting on the post mortem.

Media note: 

We have a short window this afternoon for Detective Senior Sergeant Worner to verbalise this release and the family have nominated a spokesperson who can talk to media.

Please text the Canterbury Police District Communications Manager on 021 942 404 with the reporters contact details if you wish to either have the release verbalised by Detective Senior Sergeant Worner this afternoon or talk to the family spokesperson.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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