Neville Garden Hard News Story

Missing psychiatric patient Neville Garden was located in Gippsland this morning.

A number of Mallacoota residents spotted Garden and Police arrested him after nearly two hours of surveillance.

He was flown back to Melbourne where the Armed Offenders Squad will question him.

Garden, a patient with paranoid schizophrenia at Thomas Embling psychiatric hospital, fled from his carers while on a day outing at Southbank on Sunday.

He was sentenced to 18 years and 9 months imprisonment for the 1994 murder of John George Valiotis and the attempted murder of his wife Paula.

His escape raised concerns about the security of the day release system.

Crimes Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara said criminals had no right to walk among the community while serving a sentence.

“It’s absolutely amazing that someone with his track record is allowed to wander around the shopping centres with a couple of unarmed persons,” McNamara said.

Professor Paul Mullen, clinical director of Forensicare, which operates the hospital, said Forensicare were reviewing the hospital’s security procedures.

“We make an assessment on all day releases that the patients will not abscond. On this occasion we were wrong,” Professor Mullen said.

“You have to remember that Garden had been on 39 other day trips and we never had any problems before,” Professor Mullen said.

The State Government has now banned all day leave from the hospital pending a committee review.


Readers who need support and information about mental health issues or who know someone needing help, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636


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