Prisoner on run found after funeral

Last updated 07:36 08/11/2012
Joseph Tira Rangi
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FOUND: Joseph Tira Rangi

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A prisoner on the run for more than 24 hours after he was freed to attend his son's funeral is back in police custody.

Joseph Tira Rangi, 30, punched his girlfriend in the face 12 times and bit her cheek so hard the skin was left flapping.

He pleaded guilty to wounding with intent when he appeared in Hastings District Court on Tuesday.

He was remanded in custody until next month for sentencing, but Judge Heather Simpson granted him seven hours' bail to attend the funeral in Napier later that day of his 15-year-old son Legeon, who died in Hawke's Bay Hospital this month.

Rangi was bailed into the custody of a local minister, John Flavell, and was due to return to Hawke's Bay Prison by 5pm.

Police agreed to bail on the condition that Rangi was with Mr Flavell at all times.

Rangi was required to travel to and from the tangi using the shortest possible route, was not allowed to drink alcohol, or to talk to the victim of his attack.

Rangi told the judge he would follow Mr Flavell's instructions. He attended the service, but failed to return to prison.

Hastings police this morning confirmed Rangi was back in custody and would face further charges.

Details of how he was found were not available.

Rangi and his girlfriend had been visiting his parents in Whanganui when he attacked her. He punched her in the face when she tried to take his drink from him. She hit him back, and Rangi retaliated by punching her in the face.

Contact Tracey Chatterton
Hawke's Bay reporter
Email: tracey.chatterton@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @trackchatt

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