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Property millionaire, meth addict and deviant Mark Lyon dies while serving prison sentence

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Mark Lyon has died. The former property whizz kid and multi-millionaire turned deviant and drug addict was taken from prison to hospital where he breathed his last over the weekend.

The Herald has been told he was in Tongariro Prison in Waikato when became gravely unwell. He was transferred to Waikato Hospital where he died over the weekend in his mid-60s.

Two investigations into death

This morning Tongariro Prison’s director Megan Tuhoro confirmed a man in custody at the prison passed away on July 29 while being cared for in hospital.

She said the man was transferred to Waikato Hospital five days earlier.

“Police were notified and are responsible for notifying the man’s next of kin,” she said.

“Our thoughts are with the man’s family and friends.”

The prisoner’s death would be referred to the Coroner for investigation and determination of cause of death.

An investigation by the independent Corrections Inspectorate would also be carried out.

“As the man’s death remains subject to investigation, and the Coroner is yet to determine the cause, we are limited in the amount of detail that we are able to provide,” said Tuhoro.

From swanky digs to hovel life

Lyon was 59 in 2014 when sentenced to 15 years in prison for a range of drug and sex-related charges, including offences against girls as young as 14.

It’s the end of a tragic arc which saw Lyon among Auckland’s rising financial stars towards the end of the millennium before becoming ensnared in the rising methamphetamine trade.

From that point, Lyon burned through money as he totted up criminal convictions. He went from rubbing shoulders with the city’s elite to moving in the even more exclusive realms of the underworld’s kingpins.

Methamphetamine was as much a scourge for Lyon as any of its victims. Through the arc of his fall from grace, he went from living in one of Auckland’s finest houses to sleeping on a dirty mattress in a ruined inner-city building.

Mark Lyon's former house in Epsom. Photo / Doug Sherring.
Mark Lyon’s former house in Epsom. Photo / Doug Sherring.

A fire destroyed Lyon's opulent Epsom home near the Governor-General's residence in 2002. Photo / Supplied
A fire destroyed Lyon’s opulent Epsom home near the Governor-General’s residence in 2002. Photo / Supplied

It came to an end for him in 2014 when he was prosecuted over using methamphetamine to exploit sex acts from his victims and had developed a secret “dungeon” in a 29-apartment complex he owned where he kept and tortured at least one woman.

Tall and handsome in his 30s, Lyon went from one of those behind Chase Corporation’s domination of commercial property in the 1980s to building his own extraordinary portfolio in the decades that followed.

In 2015 police raided this inner-city Auckland property owned by Lyon. Photo / Nick Reed
In 2015 police raided this inner-city Auckland property owned by Lyon. Photo / Nick Reed

Father’s apology

His rise to success came at the time methamphetamine began to gain a foothold in New Zealand. Lyon’s contact with the drug marked the beginning of his slide to prison.

Lyon’s father Cliff said he did not wish to comment. In 2016, he offered through the Herald an apology and sympathy “to any innocent people who may have been affected” by his son.

Mark Lyon outside the Auckland District Court in 2012. Photo / Natalie Slade
Mark Lyon outside the Auckland District Court in 2012. Photo / Natalie Slade

“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.”



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