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Preventative detention for Coral's killer

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/03/2017

A prison inmate who stabbed convicted murderer Nikki Roper in the neck with fluorescent light tubes and stomped on his head has been sentenced to an indefinite term under preventative detention.

Stephen Roger Williams, who was already serving a life sentence for murdering schoolgirl Coral Burrows in 2003, had earlier pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Roper in the December 11 prison attack.

Roper is also convicted of murder, after being found guilty of killing young mother Alexis Tovizi in December 2010.

In the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday, Justice Christopher Toogood sentenced Williams to 10 years imprisonment for the attack.

However, he said Williams had shown a likelihood to reoffend and sentenced him to preventative detention, to be in custody until such time as he was no longer a threat to the community.

Crown prosecutor Scott McColgan said Williams had 97 criminal convictions, while Justice Toogood said Williams had identified himself as the smiling assassin, meaning his future victims would not be unaware of an impending attack.

Williams had spent months planning the attack on Roper after believing he had acted as a snitch, the judge said.

He had not only smashed a fluorescent light tube and stashed it in his cell but built up Roper's trust by doing tattoos for him in the lead up to the attack.

With Roper seated with his back to him during tattooing , Williams grabbed the broken light tube and stabbed him in the neck, later admitting to police he had aimed for the carotid artery.

He then put Roper into a chokehold, embedding shards of glass into his neck and putting pressure on the carotid artery.

Roper broke free and as he consciousness, Williams stomped on his head and hit him with a broomstick, which he then used to stab Roper in the neck once again after the stick snapped.

Williams was only stopped when Corrections staff were able to gather enough people to safely intervene.

Roper was sent to emergency surgery with Justice Toogood saying he was only saved from death by the intervention of Corrections staff, the skill of the doctors and his own resilience.

Williams was annoyed and disappointed when told Roper had survived, Justice Toogood said.

He also detailed Williams' troubled upbringing, during which he was subject to abuse and began drinking alcohol aged 10, before later being associated with white supremacist groups and gangs.

Williams killed his six-year-old step daughter Coral in 2003 while on a methamphetamine binge, the judge said.

When asked by Justice Toogood if there was anything he would like to say, Williams said: "No. I just want to get sentenced and get out of here."

The attack is the second serious assault on Roper in prison after two inmates stomped on his head and fractured his skull, jaw and arm in 2015.

Roper is serving a life sentence after a court heard during his 2013 trial he either held Ms Tovizi's head underwater or put her in a sleeper hold until she died before telling her family she had run away.

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