Escaped killer was handcuffed to officer

Katrina Epiha is still on the run after escaping from custody at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital...
Katrina Epiha is still on the run after escaping from custody at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital on Friday. Photo: NZ Police
A convicted murderer managed to give two Corrections officers the slip in Auckland - despite being handcuffed to one of them.

Katrina Epiha (22) escaped from custody on Friday and has been on the run since.

Epiha was convicted of fatally stabbing 32-year-old mother Alicia Maree Nathan, also known as Robinson, and threatening to kill another woman at an Avonhead property in Christchurch in August 2017.

Epiha was last spotted running towards Gray Ave in Mangere, Auckland, just after 12.30pm on Friday.

Lynette Cave, Department of Corrections regional commissioner, said Epiha managed to escape while she was being returned to prison from Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland.

"The prisoner required off-site medical treatment for an injury that could not be carried out at the prison," she said in a statement.

"She was accompanied by two Corrections Officers. The prisoner was handcuffed to one of those Corrections Officers."

Police were called immediately and have been actively searching for her since then, Cave said.

"A full operational review into the circumstances of the incident is being carried out," Cave said.

The Department of Corrections was unable to provide further information on the escape as the review was ongoing, she said.

Police are appealing to the public for any sighting of Epiha and are warning anyone helping her avoid police that they could be prosecuted.

Officers searched a number of addresses and have undertaken a significant number of inquiries over the weekend but have not yet tracked her down.

"Epiha is a dangerous individual and police want to reassure the community that we are doing everything possible to locate her," police said yesterday.

Epiha has large distinctive tattoos on both sides of her face and information about her whereabouts will be treated in strict confidence.

Anyone who see or who has information on Epiha should contact 111 immediately and not approach her.

She is likely to be charged with escaping from custody, which can result in a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment, Cave said.


Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter