Jumper was a meth addict

By Imran Ali

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Alaric EcclestonPHOTO/SUPPLIED
Alaric EcclestonPHOTO/SUPPLIED

A methamphetamine addict who jumped off the Auckland Harbour Bridge and died during a police pursuit this week was spared jail by the Whangarei District Court this year so he could be treated for his drug addiction.

On Thursday, Alaric Eccleston died after a police chase that began in Orewa and despite efforts to resuscitate him by officers from the Police Maritime Unit and paramedics from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter base.

In January, Eccleston appeared in the Whangarei District Court where he was sentenced to 10 months' home detention after pleading guilty to a raft of driving charges stemming from a police pursuit which Judge Duncan Harvey described as the "worst he could recall".

He said it was fortunate Eccleston did not kill anyone. However, Judge Harvey gave him a second chance so Eccleston could be treated for his meth addiction at Odyssey House. Eccleston had admitted charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, driving reckless causing injury, possession of cannabis plant, failing to stop, three charges of breach of release conditions and two of theft.

Eccleston stole a Holden Colorado ute from Auckland in June last year and drove to Whangarei where he led police on a chase through town and suburban streets before crashing head-on into another vehicle. The female driver of that car suffered a fractured sternum.

But, while serving his home detention sentence, he cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet in April which prompted Auckland police to call for public help in arresting him.

Eccleston again came to police attention in Auckland on Thursday after he allegedly stole a car and money from a woman in Orewa. He again failed to stop for police and led officers through central Auckland before ramming into two police cars in Parnell.

Eccleston also displayed similar behaviour during the police pursuit in central Whangarei in June last year.

After doing a U-turn on Wood Rd, Whangarei, he appeared to aim the ute at the oncoming police patrol car which caused officers to veer out of the way.

During Thursday's police chase, he stopped the car at the highest point on the Harbour Bridge and jumped over the railing.

He had several warrants for his arrest and was believed to have been actively evading authorities.

- Northern Advocate

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