12:32 PM PDT, September 15, 2021
A 64-year-old Australian man who escaped prison 30 years ago and had at one point been on “Australia’s Most Wanted,” decided it was time to go back to jail after the country’s COVID-19 pandemic lockdown left him jobless and homeless, according to a published report.
Darko Desci had worked as a laborer and handyman, but that all changed after the June lockdown in Sydney, according to an unnamed police source that spoke to The Daily Telegraph and the Australian Broadcasting Corp., CBS News reported.
Out of work and with no place to live, Desci said he spent most of his time on the northern beaches of Sydney, specifically in the suburb of Avalon.
On Sunday, he surrendered to the Dee Why Police Station. And, on Tuesday during a court-appointed appearance, he was charged with escaping from lawful custody in 1992 and was denied bail, a police statement said, according to CBS News.
The charge carries a possible 17-year prison sentence, the news outlet reported.
“He [Desci] 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,” a source told the newspaper.
At the time of his escape, Desci had been served 13 months of a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for growing marijuana, a report said.
Police said he reportedly broke free from the 100-year-old prison in Grafton, 390 miles north of Sydney on the night of July 31, 1992, CBS reported.
Police said he was able to reportedly break out of his cell window using a hacksaw blade and bolt cutters and a perimeter fence.
Born in the former Yugoslavia, Desic told police that he feared he would be sent back to his country after his sentence was served and punished for not serving in the country’s military, which had since been divided into several nations, CBS reported.
Immigration officials stopped searching for Desic and in 2008, he was granted residency in Australia.