Naked man in hospital drama captured

IMOGEN NEALE
Last updated 16:33 16/05/2011

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Police have found a naked man who took to the ceiling at Auckland Hospital to evade police.

Police spokesman Kevin Loughlin said the man was discovered sheltering naked in the roof space near the accident and emergency department, not far from where he disappeared.

"We identified where he was and dragged him out."

Police had arrived at the hospital around 8.30am to speak to Andrew Clive Watkins, 25, who has outstanding arrest warrants.

Watkins said he was going for a shower, then crawled into the ceiling to escape.

A police negotiator, specialist search group and fire officers were sent to the hospital to try to find him.

Auckland District Health Board spokesman Mark Fenwick said a police team and increased security team had stayed at the hospital because no one saw the man leave and he hadn't been seen elsewhere.

Police initially said Watkins may have left the building, but they had no idea what he was wearing.

Watkins was admitted to hospital with suspected injuries shortly after 2.30am after he fell from an apartment building in Glen Eden, where police had gone to execute arrest warrants.

Earlier today patients were evacuated from the hospital's emergency department and less acute patients were moved by ambulances to North Shore or Manukau hospitals.

Fenwick said the man's escapades had caused significant disruption and the hospital had to deploy its incident management team.

Watkins is due to appear in Waitakere District Court tomorrow to face the charge of escaping police custody.

He also faces earlier charges of driving while disqualified and failing to appear in court.

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