'Houdini' escapee in prison standoff

Prisoners gesture from an observation tower at the maximum security Paremoremo prison. One of them is Aaron Forden, nicknamed 'Houdini' for his many escapes. Photo / Getty
Prisoners gesture from an observation tower at the maximum security Paremoremo prison. One of them is Aaron Forden, nicknamed 'Houdini' for his many escapes. Photo / Getty

One of two prisoners holed up in a tower at New Zealand's toughest prison is Aaron Forden, the man nicknamed 'Houdini' for his many escapes from custody.

Forden and another prisoner have been in the disused tower in the grounds of Paremoremo Prison north of Auckland since about 10.30am and are refusing to come down.

A Corrections spokesman said the pair were still there this evening.

Department of Corrections general manager of prison services Jeanette Burns said earlier there was no possibility of the pair escaping and they posed no danger to the community.

"There is no possibility of the pair escaping, nor any danger to the community and prison authorities are considering their next move," she said.

"For security reasons the details of the planned response to this event will not be made public at this stage."

A source said it was thought the pair were in the tower as a personal protest or after a failed escape attempt from the state-run prison.

Private prison operator Serco was fined $150,000 after Forden escaped from the Mt Eden Corrections Facility in October last year.

Forden also famously escaped from the old Mt Eden Prison in 2008.

- APNZ

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