Prison guards are cashing in by selling rocking chairs made by a notorious convicted ax murderer for up to $1,700.
The chairs are being made by William Patrick Mitchell, who massacred Karen MacKenzie and her three children, Daniel, 16, Amara, 7, and Katrina, 5, near the coastal town of Geraldton, Washington, at 4 .5 hour drive north of Perth, in 1993.
Mitchell and other inmates at Bunbury Regional Prison, south of Perth, make chairs from marine plywood in prison workshops.
Because child sex offenders help Mitchell design the furniture, the prison community has earned it the nickname “fart chairs.”
One of the rocking chairs made by ax murderer William Patrick Mitchell in prison and reportedly sold for huge markups by prison guards.
The details of Mitchell’s murder and sexual assault of a family in 1993 have been considered so gruesome that they have never been made public.
Prison staff can purchase the chairs for about $400, but they have been advertised on Facebook and other online sales platforms for $1,700 or $3,200 for two.
“They can’t be bought in stores, they are made from premium marine plies and hand finished, so no chair is exactly the same as another,” says an ad for one chair.
“They look great in the photo, but even better when you see the actual chair, since one has taken the last opportunity to buy it at this very reasonable price.”
Nowhere in the advertisement is Mitchell or the origin of the chair mentioned.
The huge profits made by prison guards have prompted WA Correctional Services Commissioner Brad Royce to review the grievance, which a previous investigation found was within the rules.
However, there are concerns that prisoner-made items are being used to lavishly furnish and improve staff housing and purchase other goods.
Western Australia reports that one staff member had a full kitchen fitted with cabinets made by Bunbury inmates.
Caravans and trailers belonging to staff have also reportedly been refurbished in the prison’s metal workshop.
With a small outlay, the staff has purchased entry doors that would normally cost thousands of dollars.
Karen MacKenzie and her three children were murdered by a drug-crazed Mitchell near the coastal Washington town of Geraldton.
Media inquiries have led to a change to the rules around inmate workshops.
“With immediate effect, we are unable to accept or proceed with new applications for staff to work in prison industries workshops,” Bunbury staff were notified by email last Thursday.
After the murder of MacKenzie and her three children, Mitchell was jailed for a minimum of 20 years.
High on a cocktail of cannabis, alcohol and amphetamines, Mitchell, armed with an axe, killed Daniel in the driveway of the house before entering the house to murder and sexually assault his mother, who had previously rejected his advances. .
Mitchell also sexually assaulted Amara before killing the girl and her sister who were sleeping in the bedrooms.
Some aspects of Mitchell’s crimes have been considered so repugnant and depraved that they continue to be suppressed by the courts to this day.