Escaper hid in hot water cupboard

COLLETTE DEVLIN AND WILMA MCCORKINDALE
Last updated 17:05 10/06/2014
Arthur St, Milton
RACHEL ASKEW

HIDEOUT: The address in Arthur St, Milton, where escaped prisoner Stephen Maddren was found.

Stephen Uriah Maddren
Supplied
FOUND: Otago Corrections Facility escaper Stephen Uriah Maddren has been recaptured, police say.

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A prisoner who escaped from Otago Corrections Facility last week has been caught hiding in a hot water cupboard.

Police found fugitive Stephen Uriah Maddren, 25, at 12.30pm at an Arthur Street farm house near Milton, hiding in a shearing quarters.

Clutha-Taieri area response manager Senior Sergeant Alistair Dickie said it was off-duty Senior Constable Steve Griffiths who ''did the business''.

A worker had suspected someone was hiding in the quarters after he noticed fruit and food had gone missing during the past three days. He took a sneaky look to confirm his suspicions and then called police.

However, there were no on-duty officer in the area, so Griffiths offered to help, Dickie said.

Dickie described the cupboard he was found in as "cosy", but one you could probably stand up in.

One of the shearers was getting out of the shower when something drew his attention to the hot water cupboard, Dickie said.

Maddren was also found with some clothes he'd taken from the shearing quarters, some food and a bottle he was using to urinate in, Dickie said.

"He seemed in quite good condition."

Maddren was taken into custody without out any issues but was ''not very happy and not saying much''.

The community, who had been slow to help police at the start, could now breath a sigh of relief, he said.

Senior Sergeant Brian Benn, of Dunedin, said Maddren was now back behind bars, facing a charge of escaping custody.

Maddren may also face other charges related to his possible exploits while at large since last Tuesday.

"There may have been some offences committed. He'll be spoken to about that and be presented before the court."

Maddren was reported missing from the prison on Tuesday afternoon, when he escaped from his escort while being transferred for a court appearance. He was being transferred without handcuffs.

He shimmied up a downpipe and jumped  off a three-storey building to scale the prison security fence.

Maddren, who was described as European, 1.71 metres tall with mullet-type brown or black shoulder-length hair and no teeth,  had previously been spotted in a dense forestry block near Milton earlier in the week.

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

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