A face-tattooed murderer who was handcuffed to a security guard while being escorted to her prison has escaped from custody and is on the run.
Katrina Epiha managed to free herself from two prison guards while being taken back to Auckland Women’s Corrections Facility from Middlemore Hospital on Friday morning.
The 22-year-old was handcuffed to a corrections officer and flanked by another when she broke free and was last seen near Gray Avenue in Mangere about 12.30pm.
Katrina Epiha (pictured) escaped custody from two corrections officers in Auckland on Friday
‘The prisoner required off-site medical treatment for an injury that could not be carried out at the prison,’ Department of Corrections Regional Commissioner Lynette Cave told NZ Herald.
‘She was accompanied by two Corrections Officers. The prisoner was handcuffed to one of those Corrections Officers.
‘A full operational review into the circumstances of the incident is being carried out.’
Ms Cave said police have been searching for the fugitive since her escape and was unable to provide any further details on Epiha’s getaway.
Police have appealed for anyone with information on Epiha’s whereabouts to contact them.
‘Katrina is considered dangerous and should not be approached by the public,’ a New Zealand police media release reads.
Epiha was handcuffed to one officer and flanked by another when she escaped from Middlemore Hospital (pictured)
Epiha was last seen on Gray Avenue in Mangere after fleeing from security guards on Friday
Anyone helping Epiha evade law enforcement will also face charges.
Epiha was last seen wearing a black long-sleeved top with a white shirt underneath, grey track pants and light pink running shoes.
She has large distinctive tattoos on both sides of her face.
Epiha killed mother Alicia Maree Nathan after an argument about music at a house party in Avonhead, Christchurch in August 2017.
She was only 18 when she stabbed the 32-year-old several times with a kitchen knife in an alcohol-fuelled rage.
Epiha also threatened to kill another woman before fleeing the party after telling others not to call for help.
The murder was described as a ‘senseless impulsive act of extreme violence’ by Crown Prosecutor Mitch McClenaghan during her trial.
While Justice Gerald Nation acknowledged her troubled upbringing among gangs with repeated violence and neglect had led to a pattern of violent behaviour.
Epiha was sentenced to at least ten years in prison in May 2019, as part of a life sentence over the murder charge.
She is facing another five year charge for escaping custody – on top of her existing prison sentence.
Epiha was having treatment at the hospital that couldn’t be done in Auckland Women’s Corrections Facility (pictured) when she escaped