RSA murderer William Bell takes action against Corrections after losing kitchen job amid hostage allegation

William Bell during his court appearances for the RSA murders, in 2001.


William Bell during his court appearances for the RSA murders, in 2001.

Triple murderer William Bell is taking legal action against Corrections after allegations that he planned to kidnap a female prison staffer saw him lose his kitchen job.

Bell is serving New Zealand’s longest minimum non-parole period, 30 years, on a life sentence for the murders of William Absolum, Wayne Johnson and Mary Hobson, and the attempted murder of Susan Couch, during an aggravated robbery of the Mount Wellington Panmure RSA in 2001.

Bell had been working towards an NCEA qualification in Auckland Prison’s new state-of-the-art kitchen when he was moved from the role. Stuff understands a former prisoner called Crimestoppers alleging Bell had plotted to take a hostage.

Corrections’ suspicions were further raised after an officer found a note in Bell’s cell with reference to a remote-controlled toy helicopter.

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Bell denies the allegations. Police wouldn’t confirm whether the allegation was the subject of a criminal investigation citing privacy reasons.

Corrections confirmed Bell had been moved to a different type of employment within the prison – understood to be the laundry – but said of the allegation, “there has been no threat to the wider security of the prison and no threat to public safety at any time”.

It’s understood Bell was classed as a low-medium security prisoner but that rating was increased to maximum before being dropped again by Corrections.

Bell filed an application in the High Court at Auckland for a judicial review of the rating before it was reduced, but it’s understood Bell is continuing with the legal action as Corrections hasn’t reinstated him in the kitchen.

The matter will be in court on Monday and Bell will appear remotely. The court has appointed an amicus curiae to assist him.

Up to 50 Auckland Prison inmates work in the kitchen cooking for other inmates, and can work towards gaining an NCEA qualification in hospitality and catering. They work under Corrections staff supervision in the new, modern kitchen, built under the $300m upgrade of the prison, which was finished in 2018.

Bell’s mother, Georgina Tahana, said Bell was extremely disappointed after losing a job he loved. Security classifications can inform parole reports, and the types of rehabilitation programmes available to inmates.

“He was trying, and he was motivated. He was so proud. He was really, really enjoying what he was doing. He would say, ‘so what are you having for lunch, what’s for dinner, here’s what you can do’. I know what it’s like when you want to do something and you want to make a good job of it. I don’t know why (Corrections) did this,” she said.

A security classification is given to prisoners serving a sentence of more than three months, and is meant to convey an escape risk,

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Lizzie Borden’s House Is For Sale In Case You Want To Walk In The Footsteps of an Alleged Murderer

The house where Lizzie Borden lived and died after allegedly murdering her family is now for sale. It’s not the home where Borden was accused of killing her father and stepmother in 1892, it’s where she lived after being acquitted of the crimes.

a wooden bench covered in snow: A hatchet sits on a fence at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016, near Burns, Oregon.

© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Getty
A hatchet sits on a fence at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016, near Burns, Oregon.

The home, called Maplecroft, is in Fall River, Massachusetts, the same town of the infamous Borden murder home. Apparently, it’s being sold by the same people who own the house where Borden allegedly murdered her family. That home is now a museum and bed and breakfast, something else to keep in mind if you’re looking for a terrifying vacation rental.

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Donald Woods and Lee-ann Wilber, the owners, bought the Maplecroft property in 2018 with plans to convert it into a second museum location. “Our goal is to tell the story of the second part of her life,” Woods told the Herald News in 2018. “She really was a complex character. She’s not just an alleged ax murderer.”

The home is on the market fully furnished with furniture that represents the early 1900s. Though she was accused of murder, Borden went on to live an incredibly privileged life, one full of a rich social life and high societal standing. Her wealth is seen in the home itself, a mansion that sports seven bedrooms and incredible wood detailing.

It appears Woods and Wilber may have decided to sell the house after the building was declared not up to code. Local authorities declined to allow the public to visit the historic mansion without the addition of an elevator. Woods argued an elevator would take away from certain aspects of Borden’s history, according to the Herald News.

Since it doesn’t appear the home will be opening to the public anytime soon, now is the ideal chance for a true crime lover to dive into a historic, yet macabre location. It’s on the market for $890,000. You can see the full listing here.

Borden was found not guilty of mutilating her father and stepmother’s bodies with a hatchet, but it’s widely believed she was the true murderer. Borden’s name has become synonymous with American true crime and the creepy, yet fascinating stories that somehow inch their way into daily life.

In her case, the goes past being a household name and even into the realm of a terrifying children’s rhyme that details the brutal slaying. “Lizzie Borden took an axe,” is the first line of the jingle, which may be one of the ways the woman’s name was highly publicized.

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