STUART, Ian.  Waikato Times; Hamilton, New Zealand. 23 June 1998:

Police found escaped prisoner Arthur Taylor sitting with his back againt a tree, his head between his knees. The words “Armed police, don’t move” rang through the bush. Taylor didn’t move. The challenge was repeated. This time Taylor looked up. He made eye contact with the armed policeman and stood up and obeyed the command to put his hands on his head. NZPA’s Ian Stuart tracks the last few minutes of a fugitive’s freedom.

Shortly after daybreak yesterday, Arthur Taylor heard the unmistakable command: “Armed police, don’t move”.

Taylor’s days of freedom were over. After he fled the medium security wing at Auckland’s Paremoremo prison with three of the country’s most dangerous prisoners, police feared Taylor would go out in a blaze of gunfire.

Instead, Taylor hardly said a word.

Cold, hungry, exhausted and unarmed, Taylor was back in custody.

“He was pretty buggered,” said the armed policeman who first spotted Taylor sitting in heavy bush about 200m from the beach at a small inlet a few kilometers north of Tairua, on the Coromandel Peninsula.

The armed offender squad member, who did not want to be named, said even when he was challenged, Taylor did not lift his head. “He was trying to sit doggo hoping we would go by him.”

After the first challenge failed to draw any repsonse from Taylor he was challenged again.

“Armed police, don’t move.”

This time Taylor looked up. He made eye contact with the armed policeman and stood up and obeyed the command to put his hands on his head.

Police searched him for weapons but none was found.

“He said he was cold and miserable and had had a couple of cold nights in the bush,” said the policeman.

On the way back to the Tairua police base, armed officers gave Taylor two soft-drinks and two pies.

When he got back to Tairua he drank three cups of hot coffee before he was taken back to Auckland, where he appeared in North Shore District Court.

He was remanded in custody until next week, when he will reappear.

The armed offender squad member said had police not seen Taylor he would not have given himself up, contrary to ealier reports that he had had enough of being in the bush and had walked into Tairua police station.

“He made no attempt to call out to us. He would have stayed there.”

Taylor said little to police as he was escorted down a steep track through heavy bush.

“He kept repeating he was on his own but he was with a girl last night,” the policeman said.

Armed police today continued to patrol Tairua, stopping cars entering and leaving, and searching inside for any sign of the remaining three prisoners, Matthew Thompson, 21, Graeme Burton, 27 and Darryn Crowley, 26.

CAPTION: DEFIANT: Prison escaper Arthur Tayor stops to talk to the media after police interrogated him in Tairu. PICTURE: Kent Blechynden Supplied by New Zealand Press Association

Copyright Independent Newspapers, Ltd. Jun 23, 1998