Two days before Cameron Takuira lashed out in the Rotorua police cells, inflicting life-long injuries for two police staff, he asked for help because he felt mentally unstable.
Takuira was worried about what he'd do and was crying, begging to be locked up.
Police said they couldn't put him in custody for no reason so referred him to Rotorua Hospital's mental health unit, where he was sent away.
A Rotorua District Court judge, who on Friday sentenced Takuira to one year and nine months' imprisonment, described it as "a great pity" Takuira wasn't given help.
One of Takuira's victims, a temporary-sworn custody officer, was emotional in court when he read his victim impact statement.
He outlined the ongoing issues he now faced but told Takuira he held no grudges towards him and wanted to make sure he now got help.
Takuira's lawyer, Desmond O'Connor, said it was a "sad story" he couldn't get into the mental health ward.
Takuira, 32, previously pleaded guilty to two charges of injuring with intent to injure, resisting police, wilful damage and possession of cannabis.
Judge Phillip Cooper outlined the case in court, saying Takuira was staying at a motel in Rotorua on October 22 last year when he became enraged and started smashing windows. He was arrested and found to have 21g of cannabis.
He was taken to the police cells and about 11.30am he was moved from the cell by the custody officer. He quickly ran behind a counter in a restricted area and police staff tried to grab him.
He punched the custody officer in the forehead, he fell back unconscious on the concrete floor.
Another police officer, a sergeant on duty, was hit in the face below the eye during a struggle. Takuira was pepper-sprayed and tasered but he continued to lash out and spit and it took police 10 minutes to bring him under control.
In his victim impact statement, the custody officer said he was in the hospital for two weeks, needed surgery and suffered from suspected post-traumatic stress disorder.
He said the injuries had taken a heavy toll on him psychologically, emotionally and physically. He has impaired vision and now has to wear glasses and isn't yet back at work.
"I want you to know the consequences of your actions because you need to know what you are responsible for," the custody officer said.
"I'm struggling with getting back my confidence and I'm seeing a psychologist to work through suspected PTSD.
"I ask for you to receive the right help so that whatever was going on inside you is dealt with so that you never hurt another person like this again."
Judge Cooper said the sergeant's victim impact statement said he suffered bruising and concussion, blurred vision, headaches and symptoms of a concussive brain injury. Those impacts were ongoing for him and his family.
Judge Cooper said he'd seen letters from Takuira's mother and partner who said his mental health deteriorated in the days leading up to the offending.
"Two days before this incident they took you to the police station so you could get help, they referred you to the hospital and it appears you were assessed up there but they would not admit you. You were distressed about that and asking for help and you became increasingly paranoid.
"It is a great pity you didn't get the help that you sought a couple of days before this incident."
Judge Cooper said a psychological report showed Takuira suffered from schizophrenia and that illness was directly linked to his offending.
Takuira has previous convictions including assaulting a family member in 2019, demanding with menace in 2009 and four previous charges of intentional damage.
Outside the court, Takuira's mother, Sheree Kerehoma, and partner, Cath Gillard, told the Rotorua Daily Post they were pleased Takuira had been finally been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia since being on remand in custody.
"All he wanted was help," Gillard said.
Both women said when he was turned away from help at the hospital, they put him in a motel for the night because they, and Takuira himself, were afraid for their family at home.
Kerehoma said her son knew he wasn't safe and tried his best to get the help he needed.
"He was crying and begging for help."
Asked for comment about the case, a Lakes District Health Board spokeswoman said the DHB was "happy to discuss concerns with anyone who wishes to make a complaint directly to us".
"We encourage anyone who is unhappy with our services to make a complaint by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org."