Runaway prisoner labelled an 'antisocial thug'

By Anna Ferrick

Runaway prisoner David Lothien was sentenced yesterday to two years and five months' imprisonment for escaping from a prison van and assault, as his violent past and history of escaping police was detailed in court.

It emerged yesterday Lothien had previously been charged with escaping police custody for trying to swim his way out of an arrest in 2011 by jumping from the Ahuriri wharf and swimming across an estuary. The court also heard of six previous charges for common assault.

Lothien had admitted an assault which left a man without sight in his left eye.

His lawyer Amit Malik said the case had taken an unusual turn with the escape and media attention which had distracted from the sentencing.

Mr Malik said the letter Lothien wrote to Hawke's Bay Today which detailed his escape from the van, placing blame on Corrections staff, showed his impulsive and often immature behaviour.

In a victim impact statement read out to the court, Peter O'Sullivan labelled Lothien a "drunk, antisocial thug".

He had surgery at Tauranga Hospital following the assault but was told it was unlikely he ever would regain sight in his left eye.

The assault had taken place while he was recovering from the loss of his wife and after suffering a heart attack. There was ongoing pain, he was unable to work, unable to drive and was currently reliant on ACC.

"This has had a negative impact in every aspect."

Following the sentencing yesterday, Mr O'Sullivan told Hawke's Bay Today he was surprised by the six month sentence for the escape, which he thought would have been much longer.

Lothien was given a three strikes warning for the violent offence.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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