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Prisoner who attempted to gas wife escapes

Polie are looking for Lex Miller, who escaped from Rangipo prison this afternoon. Photo / supplied
Polie are looking for Lex Miller, who escaped from Rangipo prison this afternoon. Photo / supplied

A prisoner who tried gassing his wife to death is on the run in the Central North Island.

Lex John Miller, 48, escaped from Rangipo prison near Turangi this afternoon.

Police Inspector Kerry Watson said Miller was dangerous and should not be approached.

Watson said Miller had contacts and family in the Whakatane area, where he may be heading now.

Miller was jailed in 2008 for the attempted murder of his estranged wife.

He is described as Pakeha and was last seen wearing blue jeans, white sneakers and a tan shirt.

He fled from prison in a stolen 1994 Toyota Camry. Police said the licence plate was TC7281.

Watson said anyone who saw Miller should contact police immediately.

Miller had no criminal past or history of violence before trying to kill his wife. The judge who sentenced the hardworking millhand said the crime was ``inexplicable'' and could only conclude Miller was depressed.

In April 2008, Miller was sentenced to seven years and eight months' imprisonment for the kidnapping and attempted murder of his estranged wife, who has permanent name suppression.

They had been married for 14 years but when they separated in September 2007, Miller began plotting to kill her.

On March 4, 2008, he tied up his wife with tape, drove to a remote paddock, then used a pipe to connect his car's exhaust to the cab.

Miller told the Rotorua High Court he tried killing himself too, but fled his car when the carbon monoxide began stinging his eyes.

His wife found scissors in the car's glovebox and sat on them until Miller fled. She then cut the tape binding her hands and drove off with her feet still bound.

Justice Paul Heath called Miller's offending "the worst of its kind'' and said Miller showed a high degree of cruelty and little remorse.

- APNZ

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