This story from the Herald archive was originally published in 2015.
Mark Lyon slipped down the ladder of society, bouncing off every rung, until he came to a stop in Auckland Prison's cell block D.
Master of the universe, property developer, millionaire, would-be gangster, drug addict and sexual deviant - Lyon transformed as he fell, submerged in the muck of increasingly dark and dirty worlds.
Sentenced to 15 years in prison, aged 59, his prospects have gone from ripe to rancid.
Alone in his cell at night, inmates say he screams when the lights go out. Whatever haunts Lyon in his cell, he's left plenty of nightmares outside it.
The Auckland Grammar boy was born blessed, raised in a family buoyant on the success of patriarch and business supremo Cliff Lyon.
Mark Lyon finished school well enough. He was bright, with a flair for English and science, leaving for a marketing job in a publishing house.
But his money - and there was plenty - would come from property. He became part of Chase Corporation's development team, then struck out on his own.
The first millions came age 25, before the 1987 sharemarket crash. Where others drowned under the financial tsunami, Lyon rose to the surface and then walked on it.
Lyon was tall - almost two metres - and handsome, flush with money and hungry to make more.
Through the 1990s, in his 30s, he bought and built and leased and rented property, creating a portfolio of wealth that would fuel his addictions in the years to come.
He created Mission Corporation, lived in the penthouse of an inner-city apartment and greeted callers with a phone message saying: "Welcome to the Twilight Zone."
Lyon bought Queen St's Mid City Centre, filling shops with tenants, and developed Vulcan Lane. He had dozens of commercial tenants in Newmarket, then in other parts of Auckland.
Media-shy and part of the city's inner circle, Lyon was friends with Eric Watson, now a billionaire, and in 1998 outbid his rival for a lunch date with Kylie Bax and Donald Trump. The $50,000 went to charity and Lyon went to New York, with his eye on the property magnate rather than the supermodel.
He loved it wild, though.
One-time friend and sometime bodyguard Jamie Lockett remembers Lyon tossing him the keys to an AMG Mercedes, newly bought. "He said 'take me for a ride'," jumping in the passenger seat as "hard-out petrol-head" Lockett tore around Auckland at speed.
By 2000, Lyon had swapped his swanky friends for the darker side of the city life. When the Chancery opened that year with its designer shops and fine restaurants, Lyon's best years were behind him.
"Just too much money," says Lockett, 53, of Lyon.
Thinking on the money, Lockett sounds a little wistful. He's walked against the tide for years and just lost his latest hope for a balanced life - a 60-foot boat seized and being auctioned to pay bills.
"He was spending $20,000 a day," says Lockett.
That was 2002. Lyon had a magnificent home in Omana Ave, on the slopes of Mt Eden and neighbouring Government House. It was opulent - velvet curtains, a grand piano, sports cars in the garage.
When it came to parties, though, things were a little different from over the fence.
There was booze, drugs and there were hookers and the carnage would go on for days. Lockett recalls people with P pipes in one hand and pistols in the other. "How come you didn't do something about it," he was asked, replying: "Why should I put my life at risk?"
Lifelong criminal and hardman Petar Vitali was there too. He always liked guns. One bedroom was for a senior Head Hunter. Other gang members were often present for parties.
It was a place where, eventually, there would be disaster.
In September that year, fire destroyed Lyon's home. Lockett - in bodyguard mode - kept the curious and light-fingered at bay for a few days with extreme menace and a samurai sword.
Eventually though, Lyon's decadence was there for anyone willing to take a look.
Amid the ruin, his bedroom was the most striking sight. There was a huge double bed with a large ornate iron clock behind it. On it, what would be Lyon's tragic signature - a painstakingly-created montage of pornographic images clipped from magazines - it was an effort repeated in home after home for years to come.
Methamphetamine, studies have found, fires sexual arousal. For Lyon, his addiction to methamphetamine was entwined with a hunger for sex.
One circled the other as Lyon sank further and further down.
"Such a beautiful home," Lockett recalls.
In the wake of the loss of Omana Ave, Lyon slipped out of normal life into its feral underbelly.
Home - for a brief period - became a basement area in the Chancery carpark, the development he had financed before it all went crazy. It was completely sealed off from the sun. Dangerously, a large sheet of iron balanced above the only entrance. At the time, Lyon was facing charges of possessing a pistol and was haunted by those seeking him, drugs or money.
Inside, the stark concrete bunker was furnished with salvage from the mansion. Much of value had been taken - an estimated $500,000 of belongings. At one end of the cavernous room, furthermost from the door, was a mattress.
When Lyon walked around town, he wore dirty, ragged jeans held up by string and T-shirts washed less often than they could have been. He would wear wigs - there was a blond mane, like his own, and later, a bizarre set of dreadlocks. Strikingly, his front teeth were missing.
Solace was sought in Rarotonga. A residence permit was granted and a good behaviour bond - said to be $150,000 - paid, in an arrangement the Cook Islands regretted within months.
Despite the calming presence of his then-partner Susan, the party went on. Rarotonga is a clean island, but Lockett claims there were drugs and wild times.
Lyon shipped across White Lightning, a 2000hp speedboat which produced an ear-splitting racket and infuriated locals. In a bizarre stunt, Lyon and partner blasted off into the Pacific, aiming for the distant island of Mangaia.
At top speed, they covered the 204km in just a few hours before ripping the bottom of the boat out on a reef and having to walk the final metres to shore.
On top of the parties, cars driven into the sea and White Lightning, there were complaints from young women about Lyon's behaviour.
The generally relaxed locals marched in protest, Lyon left and returned to Auckland where he was given a last chance on existing charges.
Judge Philip Recordon gave Lyon a community work sentence where he had expected prison, hearing the millionaire had wanted to help gang members but had become entangled in their lifestyle.
The judge told Lyon he was a "poor little rich boy" who was "out of his depth and hooked on drugs".
For Cliff Lyon, watching from the back of the court with Lyon's two brothers, it must have seemed the end of a chapter.
For Lyon, though, nothing changed except for the worse.
From the outside, the montage of pornography could be clearly seen lining the windows of Lyon's waterfront apartment.
Different place, same story.
He wandered Fort St, winding up in a coma after an altercation left him face down with his skull cracked. In brothels in the area, he was known for his drug abuse and the desire it created.
He was also known for thwarted desire. For Lyon, P abuse meant he had an itch no scratching would satisfy, and frustration at his inability would be directed at the women he had hired.
There were a constant smattering of charges - police arrested Lyon minutes after he thrust a paintball gun into the face of a man drawing cash from an ATM at 7.30am in September 2005. "Drug-induced", a judge later called it.
The same month Lyon took a samurai sword and a large hunting knife and went to visit his estranged partner and her two children, going into the house at 6am to find two men in a sitting room.
Two headbutts to the face of one man earned him a new assault charge.
There was a spell in prison after the 2004 community sentence was appealed. Sentenced to 15 months in Hawkes Bay prison in 2006, his time was spent lodging numerous papers with the courts in an attempt to get out as quickly as possible.
When Lyon was released, he found parts of his fortune had slipped from his hands.
In 2007, he alleged in court that a commercial structure created to distance himself publicly from his fortune had been used to remove about $6 million of it. It was the first of two such cases. In the other, in 2014, he claimed to have been cut out of a deal worth $10 million to him.
Between the two cases, Lyon slipped further into the grey and murky netherworld in a constant search for that which would satisfy his addictions and desires.
From 2009, at least, Lyon had come to prey on the vulnerable. He owned a 29-apartment building called Artizanz in Eden Terrace, filling units with an entourage of the desperate and dissolute.
As at Omana Ave, although far less grandly, the parties went on forever. There were women - prostitutes - Lyon had known for years and, with them, he used methamphetamine like a leash. For others, he used it to bait a trap.
His co-accused, a woman in her early 20s with her name still suppressed, would find girls as young as 14, targeting those grappling with a new-found P addiction.
They would be brought to Lyon, who gave them methamphetamine in return for sex.
Detective Sergeant Andrew Saunders, who led the investigation, says: "She was effectively his pimp, if you like."
Whatever free will his addicted victims might have had was irrelevant to Lyon, the jury found in the case of one victim. Judge Russell Collins, who sentenced Lyon, said "when she did not willingly provide (oral sex), you took what you believed you were entitled to.
"In the broadest summaries, you played on addiction to methamphetamine or a desire on behalf of others for drugs for your own sexual gratification."
One victim in her mid-20s, called "K" in court, was believed by Lyon to have stolen money and drugs. She was taken from the street, "desperate for methamphetamine" and brought to Lyon. There, the court heard, Lyon had her taken to a room he called the "dungeon" where she was shackled with a collar around her neck, fastened to a device which left her hunched and unable to move freely.
Lyon forced her to carry out oral sex for what she said "felt like a couple of hours".
At one point, the court was told, she begged Lyon to rape her so it would be over. Lyon told her she was more beautiful when she cried, the court heard.
Lyon's "pimp" was co-accused and victim in one, says Saunders. She was also the reason the offending stopped when it did.
One day, for whatever reason, she approached a youth aid officer on Karangahape Rd. Mark Lyon was using her to get girls, she said, and "someone was going to die" if he wasn't stopped.
In thrall to Lyon, she disappeared back into his world. That one piece of information would have to be enough.
"She knew what she was doing and knew it was wrong, but she had her own dependency issues," says Saunders.
It took police work. A plan was hatched, with a three-month timetable; it took four months to crack.
There was a raid, arrests, and again, Lyon's signature montage of porn. Then came the difficult task of tracking down victims who would testify. Young girls and working prostitutes, living at the edge of society with methamphetamine addictions, were not willing witnesses.
"You're asking young girls to stand in front of a bunch of strangers and tell them very personal things," says Saunders.
Five complainants showed up at court. "There's probably another six or seven we identified," he says.
It took two-and-a-half years for the case to come to trial. The victims needed constant support, particularly after some reported approaches from "associates of Lyon" with offers of cash if they pulled their testimony.
There was never any connection identified between the offer and Lyon.
"Those girls had been through enough."
The father of one of the girls agrees, describing his daughter as devastated by Lyon.
"She's depressed, she suffers from anxiety." The aftermath saw her successfully complete a drug rehabilitation, only to have tertiary study derailed by the court case.
The father encountered Lyon when he wound up working at the place where his daughter's abuser was receiving rehab treatment. Horrified, he went home, got drunk "and went to take a gun out of my gun safe. I just wanted to go around and shoot him".
In a moment of clarity, he rang the police and begged them to come and take his guns away.
"He's had so many chances from the judiciary in the past," says the father. "He's gone off into this world of perverted sex and drugs and firearms and gangs. I just see him as the devil."
He sat there in the Victim Support room, watching his girl leave to testify in court - proud of her courage and terrified at the ordeal she faced.
Distant from his own father, he had pledged at his daughter's birth to give her everything he had missed out on.
"It turns out I've failed her. I failed to protect her from this scum."
The father is pained beyond the comfort offered by Justice Collins, who told the court he hoped "as a society we have matured to the point where we can understand those sort of things are well beyond the control of even the best of parents and the best-intentioned parents".
There is little comfort, too, for Lyon's father, Cliff, so distant now from his son.
Through the Weekend Herald, he offers an apology and sympathy "to any innocent people who may have been affected" by his son.
"Our family are deeply saddened at these 2012 charges and the changes to Mark's personality and conduct that appear to be brought about by the use of methamphetamine."
On bail, Lyon rented an apartment from car dealer John Murphy. Immediately, he bought cameras and had them installed to watch outside the apartment. Iron bars were put in to keep people out.
Inside, Lyon recreated his mad, mad world.
"I've had people who have been around to his house," says Murphy. "There's a mountain of methamphetamine. Young kids would go in there for days on end."
One morning, Murphy found a young girl - about 16, 17 - slumped outside the apartment.
"Her eyes were going backwards in her head. He just left her there like a piece of rubbish."
The tenancy ended badly "with a trashed building and a police raid and nothing but aggravation". Again there was the porn montage. In the rubbish, multiple prescription packets of Viagra-style drugs - the itch which can't be scratched.
One of Lyon's sons visited. Murphy recalls him saying: "This is just another event. This is how it ends up."
Murphy hopes prison will help but "he's just a drug addict".
Without Lyon and his money, the entourage will need to find somewhere else to buy drugs and some other way to pay.
The hangers-on, the money, the parties - Murphy says: "I truly believe Mark Lyon is the biggest drug distributor in Auckland."
He knows people on the other side of the law, does Murphy. Lyon, he says, is "what they call a screamer" in prison.
"Every night before he's going to sleep, he screams."
The party is over.