Famous NZ escapee sentenced in UK

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 12:51 17/12/2013

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A man who escaped from a Waikato jail in New Zealand more than 11 years ago has been jailed for just over 18 years after being convicted of manslaughter.

Ricardo Pisano, of Southhampton, appeared in the Lewes Crown Court to deny murdering Brighton man Michael Polding, 62, who was found dead in his home in July 2012, reported the Daily Mail

Polding was wrapped up in bedding for two months before police found him.

But 36-year-old Pisano said he found Polding hanging from a banister in an apparent suicide then fled.

A jury at Lewes Crown Court convicted Pisano of manslaughter and wounding the 62-year-old after a five-week trial, the Daily Mail reported.

Pisano, who had several different aliases, previously admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body.

He then avoided being arrested for a year, until being caught in Southampton on May 7 under a different name.

He told the court he left the rented two-bedroom flat after finding Polding's body because he was scared of being deported to South Africa, where he was also wanted.

"The prosecution say that really from the word go (Pisano) lived off Michael Polding financially," Prosecutor Philip Katz QC told the court.

"He had no job and no income, and when Mr Polding decided to sell up in Croydon and move to Brighton, this defendant moved with him."

The crown said the defendant "bled Mr Polding dry financially", then killed him and "left him to rot," reported the Daily Mail.

Pisano had been on the run since walking out of a Waikato prison more than 11 years ago, when the South African-born man was known as Brandon Victor Pillay.

He seems to have been able to change his name, appearance and accent at will and police in his country of birth labelled him "the South African Artful Dodger".

The convicted extortionist remains New Zealand's most successful prison escaper after walking away from a Tongariro/Rangipo Prison work party in August 2001 and later skipping the country.

At the time of his escape, he was 24 and serving a 15-month sentence for extortion.

New Zealand police told Fairfax Media in 2011 that they'd received no credible information on Pillay's whereabouts for some time.

But it appeared he had been living in England for most of his time on the run under the name Ricardo Pisano, using nicknames Ree and Ricky.

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- Fairfax Media

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