Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Funeral held for Harbour Bridge fugitive with 'amazing heart', rap skills

Police mugshot of 31-year-old Alaric Eccleston. Photo / Supplied
Police mugshot of 31-year-old Alaric Eccleston. Photo / Supplied

The fugitive who died after leading police on a city-wide chase before jumping off the Harbour Bridge has been laid to rest.

Alaric Eccleston, 31, died on Thursday after jumping from the top of the Auckland Harbour Bridge into the Waitemata Harbour following a police chase that started in Orewa and snaked through the city's eastern and western suburbs.

He had been wanted by police since April after cutting off his home detention monitoring bracelet and had a history of violent and driving offences.

Friends and family said the man was troubled by mental health and addiction, and had hit "rock bottom" before Thursday's ordeal.

A service was held at Dil's Funeral Home at Schnapper Rock, Albany, yesterday afternoon. His wooden casket was decorated with a sketch of a lion wearing a crown and roaring into a microphone.

The service was described as "beautiful" with emotional speeches from friends and family, including the man's mother.

James Bryant was unable to attend the service, but described Eccleston as his "best mate" and posted a tribute to him on Facebook.

In the video, he described the "amazing heart" of Eccleston and his formidable rapping skills.

"Sorry I can't be there [at your funeral] today but the police are trying to recall me, so they can keep on calling," Bryant said.

"I never thought I would be at Alaric's funeral in this lifetime, I thought it would be the other way around.

"He was my best mate, he was a mentor and he was a leader. He was just an all around amazing person."

He said the pair met while partying at Red Beach, on Auckland's North Shore.

"I couldn't help but be jealous of his rapping skills."

They met days later and recorded some rap tracks, and from that moment they were best friends, said Bryant.

Police photograph a deceased man, Alaric Eccleston, onboard a police launch today at Mechanics Bay, Auckland. (Image altered to obscure Eccleston). Photo / Doug Sherring
Police photograph a deceased man, Alaric Eccleston, onboard a police launch today at Mechanics Bay, Auckland. (Image altered to obscure Eccleston). Photo / Doug Sherring

"No matter what you did in the past I was always there for you and I always will really love you. You had such an amazing heart and were really generous."

Eccleston went by the rap name Alryical Myrical and the two were part of the Black and White Crew.

"You would wake me up by throwing a pie and a Powerade at me and telling me to harden up and get in the studio.

"Then we got in there and we created some fire."

The pair's recordings were posted on YouTube, and featured explicit lyrics describing lifestyles of crime, partying and women.

Bryant spoke of writing to Eccleston while the man served a four-year sentence for aggravated robbery, and how when Bryant himself was in prison he was kept safe because of his association to Eccleston.

"If you ever needed anything ... you know Alaric would be there. A lot of people called him Larry and he likes to go by that name, but I would always call him by his full name.

"Some people called him Yogi Bear, this goes to back at school when he would borrow the wealthy kids' lunches."

Eccleston was loving to his friends' children "and treated them like they were his own".

"It's terribly sad how Alaric's life has ended and it's affected so many of us. He video-called me a few nights before and gave me some real, real, real important advice. I missed three calls from you that next day.

"I wish I could turn back time to go and get them, bro."

- NZ Herald

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