Image via WikipediaNew Zealand's first prison guard fatality at Waikato's Spring Hill Corrections Facility...
Prison officer Jason Palmer killed in the line of duty. The inmate charged over the killing of a prison officer at Waikato's Spring Hill Corrections Facility has appeared in court.
The 21-year-old was flanked by seven prison guards as he stood in the dock at Hamilton District Court to face a charge of common assault.
Waikato police are awaiting the the results of a post-mortem examination and say further charges are likely.
A Waikato prison inmate was awaiting transfer to a high security prison at the time of the fatal attack, the Department of Corrections says.
Jason Palmer, 33, an officer at the Spring Hill Corrections Facility in Waikato, was punched as he was letting the inmate out of a cell on Saturday afternoon.
He suffered irreversible brain damage in the attack and died yesterday at Middlemore Hospital. He was married with two children, aged 5 and 2.
Department of Corrections chief executive Barry Matthews said it appeared Mr Palmer was punched shortly after he and two other prison guards opened the segregated inmate's cell.
He fell back and hit his head on the floor as the other two guards restrained the prisoner.
Although there had not yet been an autopsy, Mr Matthews said it appeared a combination of the punch and the striking of his head on the floor caused Mr Palmer's fatal injuries.