Aaron Forden. Photo/APN
He's broken out of the country's toughest prisons,
escaped from a court house, spent years on the run and rammed
police cars in his ceaseless conflict with authority, but the
man known as Houdini will have a tough time getting out of this
Aaron Forden was shackled to a security guard as he was
sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment today
after pleading guilty to 22 offences, bringing the
31-year-old's tally of convictions to more than 100.
Crown prosecutor Scott McColgan told the Auckland District
Court this illustrated his "recalcitrant" nature and his
"commitment" to offending.
The latest crime spree included numerous residential
burglaries and thefts, as well as two counts of assault with
a motor vehicle, after he rammed police cars while evading
He was also sentenced today for escaping from a secure
interview room at Whangarei District Court, and for breaking
out of the new $218 million Mt Eden Corrections Facility - he
was the first person to do so - last October.
Prison operator Serco was fined $150,000 for the breach, and
two of its staff were stood down.
Mr McColgan accepted that Forden was entitled to a shortened
sentence for his early guilty plea, but he pointed out that
he could have pleaded guilty even earlier if he hadn't
The most serious offences were the burglaries, which resulted
in significant monetary loss to victims, as well as the loss
of "irreplaceable" objects with sentimental value like family
photographs and jewellery.
During one burglary Forden flooded a house by blocking the
sinks and turning the taps on, Mr McColgan said.
The Crown did not seek a minimum non-parole period so as to
provide an incentive for Forden to turn his life around.
Forden's lawyer Howard Lawry said this was of no significance
because "the Parole Board doesn't exactly think very highly
He said Forden recognised "what a waste his life has been"
and was committed to changing his ways.
In a letter to the court, extracts of which were read out,
Forden said he had spent all but 13 years of his life locked
up, and three of those were while he was on the run from
The latest offending stemmed from a lack of support, and his
need to find somewhere to stay and get food to eat.
"I will never offend again," the letter said.
Judge Anne Kiernan took into account Forden's early guilty
plea and remorse when passing sentence.
"I hope that you now won't try to escape from the prison and
make matters worse for yourself," she said.
Forden has previously escaped from the old Mt Eden Prison by
crawling through roof cavities to a tower and using
knotted-together sheets to lower himself over barbed wire. In
June he spent three days barricaded inside a disused watch
tower in Auckland Prison at Paremoremo.