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Fugitive NZ murderer Phillip Smith deported from Brazil

Phillip Traynor at Auckland airport Image copyright NZ Police
Image caption Phillip Smith used a passport in his birth name Phillip Traynor to fly out of Auckland airport

A New Zealand man serving a life term for child molestation and murder who fled to Brazil has been deported to his home country, officials say.

Phillip Smith, 40, was escorted by police officers onto a plane that left Rio de Janeiro for Auckland via the Chilean capital, Santiago.

Smith used a passport in his birth name, Phillip Traynor, to fly to Chile and then on to Brazil on 6 November.

He escaped while on a three-day release from a prison south of Auckland.

Smith was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1996 after he murdered the father of a 13-year-old boy he had sexually abused between 1992 and 1995.

The family had moved house but he had tracked the boy to their new home in Wellington in December 1995.

He repeatedly stabbed the father, killing him. The boy managed to escaped and raise the alarm.

Inquiry dismissed

Smith was captured a week after he arrived in Brazil, when somebody recognised him at a youth hostel.

His New Zealand lawyer said that he was surprised that Smith had been deported so quickly, because he had been challenging the legality of his detention in Brazil.

"They must have heard the inquiry yesterday and dismissed it, otherwise there will be questions about the legality of his deportation," said Tony Ellis.

Brazilian police had earlier said that when Smith entered the country he probably lied about his criminal convictions, which is a deportable offence.

He now faces an additional sentence of up to five years for escape custody.

Prison business

Smith's escape led to calls for an overhaul of New Zealand's short-term prison release scheme and the monitoring of high-risk offenders.

In an email Smith sent to Radio New Zealand he said he had planned the escape by running a criminal check on his birth name and discovering that it had not been red-flagged.

"My only anxiety was that somebody that knew me might happen to be at the airport at the same time to identify me,'' he wrote, according to Radio NZ.

He also said he had been able to fund the escape with money from various businesses he had run from prison.

Smith said he chose Brazil because he thought it would be more difficult to extradite him if he was caught, as the two countries do not have a formal extradition treaty.

Deportation is, however, a more straightforward legal process.

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