Fugitive Surrenders After 30 Years On The Run As He’s Made Homeless By Coronavirus

by : Emily Brown on : 15 Sep 2021 16:50
Fugitive Surrenders After 30 Years On The Run As He's Made Homeless By Coronavirus`NSW Police/Alamy

An Australian fugitive who has spent the last 30 years on the run handed himself in to police after being made homeless following the coronavirus outbreak. 

Darko Desic was 13 months into his three-and-a-half-year sentence when he managed to escape from Grafton Correctional Centre in New South Wales, Australia on August 1, 1992.


Having been charged with two counts of cultivating a prohibited plant – in this case, growing marijuana – Desic used tools including a hacksaw blade and bolt cutters to gain his freedom, which continued after an extensive search from authorities proved unsuccessful.

On Sunday morning, September 12, Desic entered Dee Why Police Station and handed himself in to police, after which detectives from the Serious Robbery and Serious Crime Squad charged the now-64-year-old with escape from lawful custody.

Sources close to the investigation cited by ABC News said that following his escape Desic fled to Sydney’s northern beaches and took up work as a builder and handyman, taking payment cash-in-hand. He is said to have been living in a home in Avalon, but was evicted after the coronavirus pandemic led to a shortage in job opportunities.


Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, per 7News, a police source said:

He said he’s been living in Avalon, just doing labouring and odd jobs for cash for almost three decades.

He’s been completely law abiding, never come under attention, never been spoken to. He told us he never caused anyone any trouble so no one ever looked at him twice.

Darko Desic mug shot (7News/Twitter)7News/Twitter

Desic began sleeping on the beach, but is said to have finally decided life behind bars would be ‘much easier’ than being ‘homeless’.


The source continued: ‘COVID stopped all the cash work, he’s become homeless over the past couple of weeks and he slept on the beach on Saturday night and said ‘stuff it, I’ll go back to prison where there’s a roof over my head”.

Desic, who was born in Yugoslavia, reportedly claimed he initially escaped prison due to fears he would be deported to Yugoslavia and face punishment for fleeing without completing compulsory military service.

The 64-year-old appeared before Central Local Court from his cell at Surry Hills yesterday, when he was refused bail. Desic is now set to make another appearance before the same court later this month.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: News, Australia, Coronavirus, escape, New South Wales, no-article-matching, Pandemic, prison


ABC News
  1. ABC News

    Darko Desic hands himself in 30 years after escaping from Grafton Correctional Centre