Darko Desic, born in the former Yugoslavia, was jailed for three years and eight months and charged with two counts of cultivating a prohibited plant.
The then 35-year-old had served only 13 months of his sentence when he escaped Grafton Correctional Centre in New South Wales in the early hours of August 1, 1992.
Desic escaped Grafton Correctional Centre using a hacksaw. Picture: Google Maps
Police alleged he used tools including a hacksaw blade and bolt cutters to free himself.
Efforts to locate him were unsuccessful at the time as he fled to Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches where he worked as a cash-in-hand labourer, avoiding trouble and police confrontation.
“He said he’s been living in Avalon, just doing labouring and odd jobs for cash for almost three decades,” a police source told The Daily Telegraph.
“About 2am on August 1, 1992 he used a hacksaw blade to cut through the bars on his windows and then took bolt cutters from the maintenance shed, which he used to get through the fence.
Desic had been living in Avalon, doing labouring and “odd jobs” for cash. Picture: Getty Images
“He’s been completely law-abiding, never come under attention, never been spoken to. He told us he never caused anyone any trouble so no one ever looked at him twice.”
But the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown orders banning in-home visits rendered him jobless and homeless, forcing him to sleep on the beach.
“He’s become homeless over the past couple of weeks and he 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’.”
Desic formally refused bail at Central Local Court on Tuesday September 14 and will reappear on September 28.

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