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New Zealand fugitive charters helicopter to police station

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image captionMr Bryant flew in the helicopter to Dunedin, where he handed himself in to police

A man who had been on the run in rural New Zealand hired a helicopter to fly to a police station and surrender.

James Bryant, who faces assault charges, spent five weeks apparently hiding in a small town in North Otago.

He told local media his time there had been “great”, but he was ready to leave “the middle of nowhere”.

Prisoners’ advocate Arthur Taylor, who brokered the peaceful arrest, said he had taken Mr Bryant for champagne and oysters on their way to the station.

Taylor, a high-profile former inmate who is currently on parole, told reporters outside Dunedin Central Police Station: “It was his first decent meal in weeks.”

The charges Mr Bryant is facing include assault with a weapon, wounding with intent to injure and three counts of posting harmful digital communications.

Police had warned the public he was considered dangerous and should not be approached.

Mr Bryant told the Otago Daily Times – which headlined its story Flight To Justice – that during his time in Waianakarua he had done “a lot of yoga”, but he eventually decided to hand himself in because he was worried about being labelled a danger to the public.

He contacted Taylor to ask him to arrange a peaceful arrest. The two knew each other already, because Mr Bryant had previously helped design Taylor’s website.

Mr Bryant paid for the helicopter himself, Taylor told Stuff.nz, because “he wanted to come out in style”.

Local media report that he was arrested quietly and without incident at 16:00 local time (04:00 GMT) on Thursday.

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