Prisoner still on the run

WILMA MCCORKINDALE AND NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 18:23 04/06/2014
Stephen Uriah Maddren
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SOUGHT: Stephen Uriah Maddren was seen in a forestry block near the Otago Corrections Facility he escaped from, police say.

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An escaped prisoner is still at large after search and rescue teams failed to find him today. 

Dunedin area police have completed the search phase for Stephen Uriah Maddren, who escaped from Otago Corrections Facility near Milton yesterday afternoon. Searchers sighted Maddren, 25, in a dense forestry block near the prison overnight, and police believed he was still in the vicinity.   

However, search and rescue teams with three police dogs this evening undertook “an extensive search” of the forest areas and neighbouring properties but had no luck, Senior Sergeant Matt Scoles said in a statement. 

He said police would continue with an ongoing enquiry in an attempt to find Maddren.

Maddren is described as European, 1.71 metres tall, with mullet-type brown or black shoulder length hair and no teeth.

He was last seen wearing green track pants and a green top.

Police said Maddren was not thought to be a danger to the public, but he should not be approached.

It's believed Maddren is the first prisoner to escape from the facility since it was opened in 2007. The prison holds up to 485 low to high-medium security male prisoners.   

Earlier in a Law and Order Select Committee today, Labour's correction spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern said the Maddren escaped by scaling a downpipe and jumping off a three-story building. 

It was not his first attempt, and it was thought he was being transferred for a court appearance when it happened.

Ardern said he was being transferred without handcuffs.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley, who was reporting to the committee, said Maddren was a remand prisoner, so the first question she would ask was why video links weren't being used for his appearance in court. 

A full review would be carried out, but Tolley would not comment on Maddren's individual case.

"You can risk-assess every prisoner and the staff can do their very best, but these are highly volatile, unpredictable people. 

"These are not good people, otherwise they would not have been charged and be waiting in prison," she told the committee.  

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