Jared Savage is a senior reporter at the New Zealand Herald

Ricardo Pisano arrested for the murder of his gay lover

Michael Polding (left) pictured with New Zealander Ricardo Pisano. Photo / Supplied
Michael Polding (left) pictured with New Zealander Ricardo Pisano. Photo / Supplied

A man who escaped from a New Zealand prison nearly 12 years ago has been arrested by British police for the murder of his gay lover.

Ricardo Pisano, also known as Brandon Victor Pillay, who was once dubbed the "Artful Dodger", walked out of Rangipo Prison near Turangi in August 2001 while serving a 15-month sentence for extortion. He was never recaptured.

But an international manhunt has been underway for Pillay in connection to the death of 63-year-old Michael Polding, whose body was found with multiple injuries in his Sussex flat last July. Concerned family members in Scotland contacted police when Polding failed to get in touch.

His decomposed body is thought to have laid there for nearly two months.

Mr Polding was openly gay and romantically linked with Pisano, who uses the nicknames Ree or Ricky, despite the concerns of the older man's family.

Following his death, police launched a worldwide searched for Pisano who is believed to have been the last person to see Mr Polding alive.

Mr Pisano was arrested in Southampton last night and is currently being questioned.
In a statement, Sussex Police said: "There had been an international search for Mr Pisano also known as Ricky, Ree, and Brandon Victor Pillay, who has links to South Africa and New Zealand, after he was believed to have been the last person to see Michael Polding alive.

"He remains in custody at Brighton and is being interviewed by members of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team."

In April, Coroner Victoria Hamilton-Deeley returned a verdict of unlawful killing at an inquest into Mr Polding's death.

His body was too decomposed to be sure of the exact cause of death but he died with a number of injuries, which included broken ribs and a fractured collar bone, the inquest heard.

Last December, detectives set up a website to trace Mr Pisano and offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

- NZ Herald

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