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Appeal for information relating to escapee's whereabouts

Title: Urgent appeal for information relating to escapee's whereabouts

Media: please contact jacky.james@police.govt.nz for notes to media

A 48 year old man who escaped from Rangipo-Tongariro Prison near Turangi last week had been imprisoned for the cold, calculated attempted murder of his ex-wife, says the Bay of Plenty Police District Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Tim Anderson.

Detective Inspector Anderson says it has now been a week since Lex Miller left the prison and was last seen. There has only been one potential sighting of him since then.

"Lex Miller is considered to be dangerous and we want to locate him as soon as possible.

"In 2008 he was convicted for seven years and eight months for the kidnapping and attempted murder of his ex-wife. This was a pre-meditated crime which had been carefully planned in the days leading up to the incident. This included travelling back from Australia and spending two days preparing to commit the crime, including purchasing all the tools he needed.

"On 4 March, 2008, Miller hid in the victim's car while she was at work, kidnapping and binding her with masking tape and wrapping tape. He drove her to an isolated location, and then attempted to gas her in the car.

"Remarkably, the victim was able to free her hands using a pair of nail scissors while Miller was out of the car, and then managed to get into the driver's seat and drive the car through a gate to seek help.

"This was a serious crime and it was treated as such by the courts. It is a concern to us and his victim's family that Miller has escaped custody."

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Detective Inspector Anderson says Miller has extended family in the Eastern Bay of Plenty area, particularly around Whakatane, and he may have travelled to this area.

"Equally, he could be anywhere else. At this stage, we are urgently seeking any information relating to his whereabouts, including any potential sightings of him or the car he was driving when he left the prison.

"At this stage we do not have any reason to believe anyone is helping Miller, but we do not believe that he has access to any money. He has now been gone for a week so someone, somewhere must have seen him or his car – knowingly or unknowingly – and we urgently want to hear from you."

Detective Inspector Anderson says Miller was only eight months away from being eligible for parole, so his escape would probably be considered unusual. He says while he is considered dangerous, there are also concerns about his potential state of mind.

"Either way, we want to find him as soon as possible. If you know anything at all about his whereabouts, or have seen anyone who matches his description or the car he was driving, please come forward."

Detective Inspector Anderson is also asking anyone who may be tramping or hunting in the Tongariro and wider Bay of Plenty area to look out for any abandoned cars in isolated areas.

He says anyone with information can contact their local Police Station or call 111, or provide information anonymously if necessary via the independent Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

Miller is European, aged 48 years and is approximately 173cm tall (5foot8). The attached photograph was taken in 2008 but is still considered to be a good likeness. His hair is sandy brown and similar to that in the photo, although it may be slightly shorter. He is described as a medium, fit/wiry build. He was last seen wearing a tan coloured shirt, blue jeans and white sports shoes, however, he may have changed clothes since then.

When he left the prison, he was believed to be driving a 1994 Silver Toyota Camry Sedan, with the registration TC7281. Please see attached photo of a similar make and model – please note the colour of the car we are seeking is silver, not white as depicted.

© Scoop Media

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