Escapee hid with cult

The Courier-Mail, Australia/February 14, 2011

One of Queensland's most wanted fugitives recaptured yesterday after 15 years on the run is believed to have spent years hiding out with a cult.

Luke Hunter, 42, was arrested without incident at Herberton on the Atherton Tableland in the state's north yesterday morning.

He will appear in a Brisbane court today and is expected to be charged with unlawful escape from custody.

If found guilty, he faces a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

Hunter, is alleged to have escaped from Borallon Correctional Centre, near Ipswich in 1996.

The tall, heavily tattooed and freckled redhead was believed to have undergone plastic surgery to alter his appearance while on the run.

Police were yesterday unwilling to confirm a change to his looks.

They said he had been living at Herberton for some time and working in the area part-time.

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He is believed to have spent some time as a member of the North Queensland Jesus Group.

A source with knowledge of the group yesterday said Hunter had been part of it for "many years". It is believed he was required to take a name from the ancient Aramaic language within weeks of joining.

"He's currently in custody in Cairns and will be given back to corrective services as soon as possible," Acting Detective Inspector Ed Kinbacher said.

"He'll be sent to Brisbane tomorrow (Monday).

"The investigation is in its infancy at the moment ... the case is still ongoing."

Hunter's alleged 1996 prison break-out was aided by a convicted armed robber, who cut the fence with bolt-cutters.

The other prisoner was later overpowered by prison officers in the car park and had two years added to his 10-year sentence.

The pair had obtained the tools, which also included a screwdriver and hammer, from the jail workshop.

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