By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
A police hunt for a man who allegedly escaped from a minimum-security correctional facility in the state’s Northern Tablelands last week has come to an end.
According to a statement from NSW Police, at about midday on 17 June 2020, officers received reports of a man clothed in prison greens spotted in the bushland nearby the New England Highway, about 15km north of Glen Innes.
An investigation was soon initiated by officers attached to New England Police District, who commenced a search of the area.
But the escape started to become clearer around 1:30pm when a highway patrol officer noticed a white Toyota Landcruiser, which was actually reported stolen from a neighbouring property, travelling south on the New England Highway, approximately 5km from Glen Innes.
Police approached the vehicle, requesting it to stop.
Nevertheless, it allegedly failed to do so, leading to an unrelenting pursuit that persisted into the township of Glen Innes.
It was at this point, however, that the vehicle turned around, and in the process, collided with the back of a police car.
Due to safety reasons, the pursuit was then terminated.
Vehicle Later Discovered as Escapee Breaks into Home Then Goes to Local Swimming Pool
A short time later, the stolen vehicle was sighted on West Avenue in Glen Innes, where the man allegedly broke into a home and stole items including clothing.
Around 2pm, the man was then spotted at the local swimming pool, where he attempted to jump the fence.
But it was only a short distance away, in a building at Wilson Park, that the man’s endeavours to run away would end.
The 29-year-old man was located in the building where he was arrested.
He was then taken to Glenn Innes Police Station and charged with inmate escape/attempt to escape from lawful custody.
He was also charged with a series of other offences, including take and drive conveyance without consent of owner, police pursuit – not stop – drive dangerously, break and enter house steal value and enter inclosed land not prescribed premises without lawful excuse.
The man was denied bail and set a court appearance at Tamworth Local Court via audio visual link.
Australia’s History of Fascinating Jailbreaks
Since Australia’s colonial days, criminals have been trying to break out of Australian prisons and escape custody using all kinds of ingenious and precarious methods.
In fact, it was prisoner William Buckley who first fled authorities in 1803, coining the term “Buckley’s chance”.
Since then, prisoners have engineered fascinating and risky plans to break out of correctional facilities, from those highly elaborate, to the brilliantly simple.
Call it something straight out of a movie, one of Australia’s most audacious and extraordinary jailbreaks involved the simple disguise of a fake moustache.
In 1996, inmate George Savvas simply walked out of Sydney’s Goulburn Prison while serving a 25-year sentence for drug importation.
Donning a fake moustache, beard and hairpiece, then changing into civilian clothes, the cunning Mr Savvas quite literally walked out of the jail’s visiting area, submitting himself to freedom from the high-security prison.
He was eventually apprehended eight months later at a restaurant in Kent Street.
It was later revealed he was only at Goulburn Prison after being moved there following a failed scheme to escape from Maitland Prison.
The Law on Escaping Lawful Custody in NSW
In NSW, it is an offence to escape or attempt to escape lawful custody, which is contained in section 310D Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
Section 310D states that any inmate who escapes or attempts to escape from lawful custody, or, who, having been temporarily released from lawful custody, fails to return to lawful custody at the end of the time for which the inmate has been released, is guilty of an offence.
The maximum penalty you can face for escaping lawful custody or even simply attempting to is imprisonment for 10 years.
Have questions? Call our legal hotline to speak to one of our Sydney criminal lawyers today.