A New Zealand man who suffered 30 percent brain damage following a ferocious attack in one of Auckland's toughest prisons is still fighting for compensation, six years after a guard left him dying in his cell while he went away for a sandwich and a cup of tea.
In May 2013 a convicted killer used a black number 8 pool ball in a sock to smash Benjamin Lightbody's skull like an eggshell, just minutes after the father-of-two had entered a workout yard in Mt Eden Prison.
Official reports into the brutal attack, including an investigation by the Human Rights Commission into CCTV footage that mysteriously went missing, have been highly critical of NZ's Department of Corrections and Serco, the private company running Mt Eden Prison before its contract was cut.
Mr Lightbody, who now suffers from PTSD and a variety of physical and mental brain-related injuries, said his six-year fight for compensation and an official apology had been 'awful'.
'There have been a lot of delays,' Mr Lightbody told
'I do feel let down. No one should have to go through what I went through.
'But I am also just appreciative to be alive.'
CCTV footage of the beating showed Mr Lightbody, who was on remand for allegedly breaking a protection order, lying unconscious for six minutes, while other inmates continue to workout around him, completely unfazed.
Two hours after the near-fatal assault, a prison guard went to check on Mr Lightbody who had somehow made it back to his cell, where he was slowly dying on his bed.
But the guard didn't call for medical help.
Instead, he left Mr Lightbody and walked back to the guard house. He made himself a cup of tea and munched away on a sandwich. After 24 minutes had elapsed, he picked up the phone and called for the prison doctor.
An official investigation called the guard's action an 'excessive and unacceptable' delay.
Finally, two hours after the attack, an ambulance arrived. Mr Lightbody was rushed to hospital, where doctors feared he would die. He was in a coma and placed on life support.
An internal investigation found the attack was unprovoked, and had been carried out by a prisoner who ruled the wing with his intimidation of inmates and guards.
Mr Lightbody is now on the brink of entering mediation with the Department of Corrections and Serco to negotiate a settlement. He told
he would like an official apology 'to acknowledge wrong was done', but added he does not expect any kind of public admission from government or Serco.
'For about six months I couldn't remember the assault or hospital or the rehab,' Mr Lightbody said.
From his hospital bed he was at first confined to a wheel chair. He learned to walk again, but life has never been the same.
A trained jeweller and degree-holder, he is unable to work or care for his two young sons. He suffers from chronic pain. A doctor's report, seen by
, assessed him as having 31 percent impairment of normal brain and physical function.
'I'm running on two-thirds of my brain and it's not easy. It is really, really tough but I do try and live and enjoy life,' Mr Lightbody said.
'I'm lucky that I can see. When I go for a walk along the beach I have ears and I can hear the ocean. What would deaf people give to hear the ocean? Little things like that pick me up.'
Following the attack, Mr Lightbody fought for four years to have access to CCTV footage so he could establish what had happened in the prison yard. His requests were initially refused, and when the footage was finally released, some of it was mysteriously missing.
When contacted by
, NZ's Department of Corrections did not respond to questions about the lengthy delay to settle Mr Lightbody's claim.
Serco operates a number of Australia's prisons and onshore immigration detention centres.
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