Convicted killer Antonie Dixon spoke of feeling as if he was being pushed into a corner in the last few weeks of his life, a friend and former neighbour said yesterday.
"He said 'they are trying to make me kill myself by taking away my medication and putting me on 23-hour curfew'," said Alexandra Cameron.
Ms Cameron is one of the last people outside the prison system to have contact with Dixon before he was found dead in his cell on Wednesday night. No one is being sought in relation to his death.
In the past few weeks Ms Cameron had received letters from Dixon and had spoken to him many times on the phone.
At one stage he spoke of being offered "something" by a visitor but he didn't want it and gave it to another inmate who later became "very sick".
The conversations left her with an impression of a desperate man. After a conversation on Friday, Ms Cameron told friends he was heading down a path of destruction.
"He said, 'what do you think I should do, do you think I should kill myself'. I said 'no, I don't think you should do that'."
Ms Cameron said she initiated contact about three weeks ago, asking Dixon if he'd be interested in having a book written about his life.
He quickly replied, detailing concerns about corruption in his case and the way he was being treated in prison.
Ms Cameron wrote to Corrections Minister Judith Collins, asking her to look at his case. Ms Collins' office replied on Wednesday, saying a copy of her email had been referred to officials at the Department of Corrections for a direct response. Dixon died that night.
A spokesman for Ms Collins said the minister referred the email on because she was not legally able to intervene in individual cases.
Ms Cameron said she was not surprised when she was told of Dixon's death, given the things he had been saying to her. She had empathy for him - and for his sister and her nine children - but she could also understand the public reaction. "I can understand the community at large not caring and feeling that justice has been done and this was the right thing."
Mr Hart said he had a sense that Dixon's mental health was deteriorating fast and yesterday criticised the Department of Corrections for not handling his case better. "The signs have been for weeks he was paranoid."
A psychiatrist visited Dixon at 5pm on Wednesday and found "he's not a well man but he's in good care". Several hours later Dixon was dead.
His death is being investigated by the Prison Inspectorate.
* Antonie Dixon's downward spiral
2003: Fuelled by P, Dixon attacks Simonne Butler and Renee Gunbie with a samurai sword in Pipiroa before driving to Auckland and shooting dead James Te Aute. He then holds Ian Miller hostage in his home.
2005: At his trial Dixon claims he is insane. He is found guilty of murder, grievous bodily harm, firearm charges and shooting at police.
2008: Dixon has a second trial after his first conviction was quashed but is again found guilty.
2009: Dixon is found dead in his cell, the night before he was due to reappear in court.By Elizabeth Binning Email Elizabeth