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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Massive twist in boat rage saga: enraged man who rammed principal is murderer on life parole

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The hotheaded boatie who rammed an oar-wielding school principal with his dinghy in a viral video is a convicted killer on life parole with ‘severe anger issues’.

John Frederick Dixon was released from prison in 1987, but his unhinged behaviour in the recent boating incident so concerned New Zealand authorities that they requested he was recalled to prison because he posed undue risk to public safety.

Mr Dixon, now 58, was 16 when he bashed Joseph Hishon to death after the man denied him a loan in Hamilton in 1978. 

The hotheaded boatie who rammed an oar-wielding school principal with his dinghy in a viral video is John Frederick Dixon (pictured), a convicted killer on life parole with 'severe anger issues'

The hotheaded boatie who rammed an oar-wielding school principal with his dinghy in a viral video is John Frederick Dixon (pictured), a convicted killer on life parole with ‘severe anger issues’

Mr Hishon died from ‘extensive head injuries’ and had a broken skull. 

Dixon admitted punching and kicking the man’s head after he refused to hand over money for cigarettes and rent. 

That trial – 42 years ago – heard Dixon had severe anger issues and a personality disorder and that at 11 he was sent to a boy’s home because his parents couldn’t control him, the NZ Herald reported.

The trial also heard reports that Dixon had ‘marginally abnormal brain functions’ and suggested ‘a tendency to over-react to threats, teasing or any excitement’. 

Dixon was convicted of murder and served eight years in jail. 

The video showed an enraged Dixon recklessly ramming his inflatable dinghy into an aluminium boat after a dispute with another boatie, deputy school principal Catherine Browning.

The bizarre boat rage incident erupted on January 23 at the Tairua Harbour marina, a tourist destination on the Coromandel Peninsula famous for kayaking and sailing. 

Dixon is understood to live in a $150,000 yacht on the marina and was angry that boats passing had ignored a 5km/h speed limit, sending a wake towards his yacht and damaging his dinghy.

‘You rammed our boat and you spit at me, you piece of s**t,’ Ms Browning says as Dixon approaches the boat aggressively.

‘You’re a piece of s**t, you just caused $1000 worth of damage’, Dixon shouts, slurring his words. 

Tairua primary school's deputy principal Catherine Browning (pictured) swung her oar at Mr Dixon in the drama caught on video

Tairua primary school’s deputy principal Catherine Browning (pictured) swung her oar at Mr Dixon in the drama caught on video

‘What are you talking about?’ Browning asks. 

‘You drive past my boat, you rock it if you’re not doing 5 knots,’ Dixon screams.

Ms Browning grabs a wooden oar as Dixon angrily buzzes another mariner and swings it at him.

‘There are children,’ Ms Browning shouts. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’

‘I don’t care, I want some money’ replies the man as his dinghy promptly deflates and sinks into the water. 

Ms Browning spoke to the NZ Herald on Saturday, breaking down in tears from the pressure after the video went global, escalating the incident to international news. 

She said the video only captured half of the incident with the angry man originally targeting another boat in the drama that unfolded before the video started. 

‘He came in at full speed attacking us, ramming us,’ she said.

‘He scared the s*** out of me and I had to defend myself.’ 

John Frederick Dixon (pictured) yelling at Catherine Browning

Dixon (pictured) gathers speed before ramming Browning's boat with his inflatable dinghy

John Dixon (pictured left) can be seen in the video yelling at Catherine Browning before speeding off and circling back to ram her boat (pictured right) 

She was facing action from the school board over her behaviour too. 

Ms Browning was dubbed, perhaps unfairly, a ‘boat Karen’.

A ‘Karen’ is a pejorative term for an entitled middle-aged woman who complains to the manager. 

Ms Browning said that the impact of the sudden and unwelcome fame has left her unable to sleep or eat.

‘It’s made my life a nightmare.’

Efforts to have Mr recalled to prison have so far failed, but he is now required to a special Parole Board hearing for a final determination on whether he will remain a free man. 

This post was first published on DailyMail.

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