Policeman recalls long chase after Taylor:

Evening Post

Wellington, New Zealand. 19 June 1998: 

Escaped Paremoremo prisoner Arthur Taylor honed his skills at running from the law in the backblocks of Stratford.

Ten years ago he ran for almost four hours in an attempt to escape a determined Stratford constable.

Constable Terry Johnson made world headlines in 1988 with his dogged chase.

Back then, New Plymouth’s Daily News reported that Mr Johnson “gave plod an entirely new meaning when he sprinted, jogged, slipped, slithered and tumbled over more than 30km of central Taranaki countryside in the middle of the night in pursuit of a burglar”.

That stubborn burglar was none other than Taylor.

Today, Mr Johnson, now a police sergeant in New Plymouth, recalled the bizarre relationship he and Taylor, 41, formed as they puffed their way through the countryside between Stratford and Eltham.

The chase began when Mr Johnson spotted Taylor lurking at a Stratford car sales showroom early one morning.

Taylor sprinted off into the night with Mr Johnson on his tail.

Hours later, as the chase took them past a house, Mr Johnson banged on the wall with his baton and yelled that he needed the police. His colleagues surrounded Taylor and the chase was over.

Mr Johnson believed he got to know Taylor quite well as he chased him – after all, they were shouting and talking to each other the whole way.

“He was quite a determined sort of guy . . . He was also resourceful and fit, not that tall, but quite strong.”

Mr Johnson believed that if he had had a physical confrontation with Taylor while on the run all those years ago, Taylor would have stabbed him with the knife he repeatedly threatened him with.

“I’m not really surprised that he escaped,” he said.

“He’s not the sort of fellow who likes being cooped up.”

Mr Johnson believed it would not be too long before the fugitive was tracked down. He was apparently not the kind of man to melt into the scenery.

“He likes being in the limelight too much,” he said. – NZPA

Supplied by New Zealand Press Association

Copyright Independent Newspapers, Ltd. Jun 19, 1998