Missing convicted killer and psychiatric patient Neville Garden has been found by police in popular holiday spot Mallacoota in Victoria’s East after a 4 day search.
The apprehension of Mr Garden is a relief to police. Mr Garden shot dead a Mildura milk bar owner in an unprovoked attacked in 1994. Mr Garden had never met the man prior to the murder.
Mr Garden was located in the town centre at 9.15 in the morning. A local policeman maintained surveillance of Mr Garden for two hours until the arrival of authorities.
Mr Garden is not guilty of a fresh criminal offence at this stage but was detained under the Mental Health Act as an absconder from a mental health institution.
The 4 day search for Mr Garden was conducted amid fears of Mr Garden causing harm to himself or others. Mr Garden had been allowed on 40 day release trips despite telling psychiatrists he would kill again.
This is the ninth inmate in the past year to escape from the Thomas Embling Hospital which houses the state’s most dangerous mentally ill criminals.
Professor Paul Mullen of Forensicare which runs the hospital said Mr Garden’s leave was approved by senior staff due to his stable condition and low risk of escape.
Police are convinced Mr Garden’s actions were planned. Mr Garden had renewed his passport and driver’s licence in recent day releases and when detained was in possessions of several hundred dollars.
Mr Garden’s documented past, activity prior to escape and dependence on medication for mental stability have contributed to public outrage during the manhunt for the killer.