Fugitive child sex offender caught in Ballarat toilet

A FUGITIVE child sex offender, who recently escaped from Ararat correctional facility Corella Place, faced court on Monday after being caught in Ballarat.

The man, who didn’t appear in the dock at Ballarat Magistrates Court, was remanded in custody to appear before Judge

Pullen at Melbourne County Court on July 17. 

No application was made for bail by his defence lawyer. 

The man was re-captured by Ballarat police just before 9.30am on Monday.

He was located at a toilet block in Little Bridge Street, next to the Coles supermarket.

A member of the public alerted police to the escapee’s location by calling triple zero.

Police said he was compliant and did not resist arrest.

Units from Ararat Criminal Investigation Unit travelled to Ballarat to interview the escapee.

His escape sparked a large-scale search not only of Ararat, but surrounding areas throughout last week.

The Victoria Police fugitive task force was involved in the search, alongside local officers.

Police said he had cut off his electronic ankle monitor to evade authorities.

Corrections Minister Ed O’Donoghue said the man would be charged with breaching his supervision order, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

He said the arrest would likely spark a review of procedures at Corella Place – a 40-bed Corrections Victoria-supervised transition facility for former prisoners.

“All such incidents are reviewed to make sure procedures worked as intended and to see whether changes should be made,” he said.

“In this instance, staff were at the offender’s unit within one minute of his GPS bracelet sending out an alarm, and police had been called within three minutes.”

The man cannot be identified by court order.

Where the arrest was made: