By Josh Bavas
One of the nation’s most notorious bank robbers wants to live the next chapter of his life in tropical north Queensland, but his bid for freedom is looking precarious.
Brenden Abbott, once dubbed the Postcard Bandit, is being released from prison this morning, but West Australian officials want him to return to see out the remainder of a prison sentence there.
He is one of the nation’s most slippery prisoners, having escaped two jails: WA’s Fremantle Prison in 1989 and the Queensland’s Sir David Longland Prison at Wacol in 1997.
He was labelled the Postcard Bandit for allegedly taunting WA Police while on the run, something his lawyer has said never actually happened.
The 53-year-old has spent about 18 years behind bars in Queensland, much of that time in solitary confinement.
WA Police want him to return to serve the remaining eight years of a sentence for armed robbery, which he avoided by escaping the prison in 1989.
He had been convicted of several armed robberies in WA, including the hold up of the Belmont Commonwealth Bank, where he and an accomplice dropped through the roof before threatening staff at gunpoint.
Some of Abbott’s convictions include:
1988 – sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in WA for armed robbery, cumulative on a three-year sentence for breaking and entering with intent
1988 – sentenced extended by two years for role as ringleader in Fremantle Prison riot
1996 – sentenced to nine years in Queensland for armed robbery committed on January 20, 1995
1997 – sentenced to nine years for armed robbery on April 16, 1992
1997 – sentenced to 10 years for armed robbery whilst in company on December 24, 1993
1998 – sentenced to six years for escaping lawful custody in 1997. Also convicted of four counts of serious assault
1999 – sentenced to seven years for armed robbery and six years imprisonment for unlawful use of a motor vehicle with a circumstance of aggravation committed whilst at large
2001 – sentenced to six months for wilful damage of prison equipment committed on October 25, 2000 (Most of these sentences were served concurrently)
After five-and-a-half years on the run, he was eventually found at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast with a large number of weapons, ammunition and $76,000 in cash.
He was then charged with a number of armed robberies in Queensland, involving more than $5 million that was never recovered.
Abbott is also wanted for questioning over more than a dozen armed robberies in South Australia.
In 1997, Abbott escaped prison in Queensland but was found in Darwin six months later and returned.
His lawyers plan to fight his extradition saying Abbott offered to return to WA in 2002 to serve for his offences concurrently but was rejected by the WA attorney-general at the time.
“We say that this process has been abused in a sense that he has been seeking to return to Western Australia now for nigh on 20 years,” criminal lawyer Chris Nyst said on Monday.
“The Western Australian authorities have repeatedly declined to have him come back.
“He has tasted the lash, we say that he has been adequately dealt with. He has been severely punished; he deserved to be severely punished because he broke the law but we say enough is enough,” he said.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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