A New Zealand Fugitive Wanted to Turn Himself In. So He Hired a Helicopter.


James Matthew Bryant participated in the week, doing yoga in the middle of the woods and plotting his next move. His face then appeared in a TV crime show.

Auckland, New Zealand – For many, this will be a welcome getaway: a week-long retreat in a log cabin in the deep woods, followed by a scenic helicopter ride, a plate of oysters and a bottle of champagne.

For 32-year-old James Matthew Bryant, a fugitive from Zealand officials, he spent eight days here A privately owned, open access hunter’s hut in the remote Wayanakarua Scenic Reserve constitutes a literal getaway.

Since April, Mr. Bryant has been on charges of wounding with reckless neglect, possessing a knife, three counts of damaging digital communication and failing to appear in court. But he ended his fugitive position in a dramatic way on Thursday, when he hired a helicopter to turn himself into police, making him a media sensation in New Zealand.

Mr. Bryant was a fugitive roaming the South Island for about three weeks before he ran an evening news crime show, “Police Ten 7.” Appeared as a wanted criminal. Somehow he heard that an informer had told the police about his whereabouts, and the show called him dangerous. He doubled in his flight, walking for two days until he reached the hut in the forest. (The hut is empty. It can be occupied by anyone.) There, he spent his time doing yoga, he later told reporters, and contemplated his next move.

Finally, fearing a possible confrontation with the police, and thinking of possible consequences for his young daughter, Mr. Bryant called Arthur Taylor, a former career criminal and an advocate for prisoners’ rights, who That are well-known to the officials of Zeeland. Mr. Bryant once helped him build a website.

Local news media reported Mr. Bryant’s crimes included a violent argument between roommates that ended in cutting off a man’s head. Mr. Bryant takes up to five years to plead guilty to the charges. Mr Taylor said by phone on Friday that he was prompted to correct by victims of Mr Bryant’s crimes, who he said were “quite frightened” and who spent a week away from home after the incident Was.

Mr Taylor said he told the fugitive: “Look, friend, my best advice to you is to leave yourself. You can go to jail for a few years, but this is not the end of your life.”

Then, Mr. Taylor reported, “They called me back and said, ‘Arthur, I hired a bloody helicopter.”

In a scene worthy of an action film, that helicopter retrieved a rather hardened Mr. Bryant from the jungle on Thursday. “They circle upwards, and he comes running out of the bush,” Mr. Taylor said. “The helicopter lands, picks up James, brings him back.”

The owners of the hut did not know that they were harboring a fugitive. One of its owners, Steve Joyce, said on the phone, “Just because of the time of year, we don’t usually have a lot of trampers coming in.”

After Mr. Bryant was unloaded by helicopter, he was taken to Mr. Taylor’s house in Dunedin City. There, Mr. Taylor said, the fugitive, who clearly appreciates the finer points of life, did a quick work of about 30 Bluff oyster ster, A bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne and a small bottle of Mr. Taylor’s cognac before going to the authorities.

Mr. Taylor said he had no objection: “After spending a little time in that prison, I know what kind of nonsense they feed them, so I was very sympathetic, shall we say, to their wish that one Last decent repurpose. “

Had Mr. Bryant not opted to take his helicopter, and the police had to undergo a two-day walk to evacuate them, the events could have ended even worse, Mr. Taylor said.

“They must have been very angry police,” he said. “By that time, they would be armed with teeth, anything could have happened. Very unstable situation.”

Speaking to reporters outside Dunedin Central Police Station on Thursday, Mr. Bryant, wearing a blue surgical face mask, a Gucci T-shirt and Versace sunglasses, spoke of his time as “nowhere.”

“It was really good; I did a lot of yoga,” he said.

Then he stepped through the sliding doors and handed himself over to the authorities.

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