Second escape for violent prisoner

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 05:00 05/06/2013
David Lothien
Supplied
CAUGHT: David Lothien

Relevant offers

Hawke's Bay

Police officers on trial are 'people, not robots' says defence Unexplained fire causes extensive damage to Hastings house Genera's Napier Port branch awarded for equal opportunities Perms bridge a generation gap at Bay student salon Man arrested after attack on woman outside Flaxmere Primary School Ho-ho-Hastings, very Merry Christmas celebrations Hawke's Bay police ask people to lock up properly to avoid burglaries Second top police officer criticises actions of police making arrest Teenager charged with Hastings arsons Police should not have deployed two dogs on wanted man in car says top cop

A violent inmate who fled from a prison van previously swam across an estuary to avoid arrest.

David Lothien was put into an unlocked prison van but was not handcuffed despite his tendency to run from police.

Lothien left his unlocked, segregated compartment and stepped out of a prison van as it pulled into a Dannevirke petrol station because the back door was not locked.

The 21-year-old Hastings man was being transported from Spring Hill Prison in Waikato to Hawke's Bay Regional Prison via Manawatu on April 17.

After jumping from the van, Lothien ran down a nearby track and hitchhiked to Hastings.

Police nabbed him as he watched a rugby match at Napier's Park Island sports fields four days later.

It was the second time Lothien had escaped from custody. He tried to swim across a Napier estuary to avoid police after being arrested outside a strip of Napier bars in 2011. He was soon recaptured.

Lothien appeared for sentence in the Napier District Court today on a charge of escaping custody and assault with intent to injure.

At the time of his escape, he had been in custody after pleading guilty to the assault. On January 25, Lothien was watching stockcar racing with friends in Rotorua when he punched a man in the face. His victim lost the sight in his right eye.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Peter O'Sullivan said the "gutless, drunken, unprovoked" attack had turned his life upside down.

At the time of the attack, Mr O'Sullivan had been trying to get his life back on track after his wife died and he suffered a heart attack. He bought himself a motorhome and was travelling around the motorsport circuit as a much needed summer holiday.

The ramifications of losing his sight in one eye hit him hard as he waited for surgery at Tauranga Hospital.

"The future looked bleak."

Mr O'Sullivan relies on ACC payments because he cannot work or drive. He cannot ride a bike due to his loss of balance and has to take pain killers everyday to live with the"relentless" pain.

"The loss of independence is crippling."

Crown prosecutor Joshua Lucas said the victim not only lost his eye but a large part of his livelihood.

Lawyer Amit Malik said Lothien was remorseful for throwing the single punch. He said that Lothien acted on impulse, such as writing to another media outlet and blaming the Corrections Department for not securing the prison van, from which he escaped.

Ad Feedback

Corrections is investigating the incident.

Judge Bridget Mackintosh said the "sideshow" of Lothien's escape took away from the assault, which Lothien committed while on bail. Lothien had six previous convictions for assault.

He was sentenced to two years' and five months' imprisonment. Judge Mackintosh gave Lothien his first warning under the three strikes legislation.

Lothien's girlfriend, Renee Cross, 29, was convicted last month of assisting him after his escape, and was sentenced to 150 hours' community work.

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

How many coffees do you have a day?

5 or even more

3-4

2

1

Anything from 1-5.

Don't touch the stuff.

Vote Result

Related story: Coffee as we know it at risk of dying

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content