RSA triple murderer William Bell is taking Corrections to court over allegations he planned to kidnap a prison staff member and lost his kitchen job as a result.

Bell became one of New Zealand's most notorious killers when he murdered three people and wounded a fourth at the Mt Wellington-Panmure RSA in December 2001.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 33 years, initially. On appeal, the non-parole period was reduced to 30 years.

Bell had been recently working towards an NCEA qualification in Auckland Prison's new kitchen facilities when he was moved from the role, Stuff reported.


It was understood a former prisoner called Crimestoppers alleging Bell had plotted to take a hostage, allegations Bell denies.

Corrections confirmed Bell was transferred to a different type of employment within the prison in April 2019.

Responding to the allegations, a Corrections spokesperson said there was no threat to the wider security of the prison and no threat was made to public safety at any time.

"As you will appreciate, this matter is currently before the court, and to avoid jeopardising these proceedings or prejudicing their outcome, we are limited in our ability to provide further specific information."

Bell was classed as a low-medium security prisoner, but Corrections increased that rating to maximum before dropping it again.

Bell filed an application in the High Court at Auckland for a judicial review of the increased rating before it was dropped, but it was understood Bell was continuing with the legal action as Corrections had not reinstated his kitchen job.

Bell's mother, Georgina Tahana, told Stuff that Bell was extremely disappointed about losing his kitchen job.

"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.


Bell will be eligible for parole in December 2031, at the age of 54.

He bludgeoned to death Mary Hobson, 44, Wayne Johnson, 56, and William Absolum, 63, during a robbery of the RSA.

He also seriously injured Susan Couch, who worked part time doing the club's accounts.

He was on parole at the time of the murders and already had 102 convictions.

Four months before the murders, Bell had worked as a barman at the clubrooms as part of a work-experience programme.