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7:20PM Monday December 15, 2008
An Auckland man accused of using his car as a deadly weapon will go on trial for murder, attempted murder and assault.
Tony Worrell is charged with going on a rampage which left 26-year-old newlywed Katie Powels dead and another man seriously injured. Whilst driving intoxicated, Worrell’s vehicle crossed the centre line.
The Crown says he was acting with murderous intent, while his lawyer argued his client was impaired by a combination of alcohol and medication.
At times the evidence seemed to overwhelm the accused. Worrell broke down in court as his ex-wife testified he had been drinking the day he smashed his car, taking one life and coming dangerously close to taking others.
“His speech was slurred and he was swaying a bit when he walked,” Lynette Worrell said in court on Monday.
The same day of the accident, Tony Worrell had been released from hospital after mixing anti-depressants and alcohol. His wife says it was the last straw.
“His drinking had been a problem for quite some time and I had had enough of it and I asked him to leave the home.”
Powels’ grieving family is now facing the ordeal of a trial next year.
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Prisoner self-medicated without permission, inquest hears — (TVNZ News)
The evidence was heard during the coronial inquest into the death of Tony Worrell. The 51-year-old was found dead in his cell in Auckland Prison on March 16, 2011.
He had been jailed in February 2010 for a minimum of 14 years for murdering 26-year-old Katie Powles. Worrell deliberately drove into four cars in Karaka in June 2008, including the one driven by Ms Powles, in an effort to kill himself.
Coroner Morag McDowell has allowed media to report the cause of Worrell’s death but not the type of medicine used.
A medical officer at the prison, who has interim name suppression, said Worrell was not permitted to self-medicate. Therefore, a nurse had to administer the medicine or be present when it was consumed.
She acknowledged under cross-examination from Coroner McDowell that Worrell had at some point started administering the drug himself and had access to up to a week’s supply of it.
Coronial Services Officer, Senior Constable Paul Herman, told the inquest Worrell had tried to kill himself using the same medicine in April 2008 while in custody, and also tried to kill himself another time using a different method.
He said the medicine’s container was found in Worrell’s cell after the death.
Two prison guards, who also have interim name suppression, say there was no alert on Worrell’s file to indicate there had been previous suicide attempts.
In the days before he died, Worrell had received a call from his lawyer to discuss an appeal against the length of his sentence. The lawyer advised his non-parole period had been reduced from 14 to 12 years – not as much as Worrell had hoped for.
One of the guards said Worrell was disappointed.
“He was very down. He blamed mainly the law practitioners and had a very low opinion of lawyers. He felt he had been let down very badly by them.”
But the other guard said Worrell seemed okay.
“If I had concerns I would have done another new arrival risk assessment form.”
The officer said Worrell was a “homebody” who often read books in his cell.
“He gave me no indication he was troubled at all. He was quite a jovial person when he communicated with me.”
There was no camera in Worrell’s cell, only a window in the door, through which checks were made every four hours.