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Episode 9: George Wilder

Our most lighthearted case yet! Andi talks to Ayla about George Wilder, a prison escapee. He was first sent to New Plymouth prison in 1961 for burglaries, thefts and car conversions. In 1962 at age 25 he escaped by climbing the prison wall and escaping into the country and was caught 65 days later. He was transferred to Mount Eden prison and had an extra 3 years added to his 4-year sentence. 6 months later, he escaped again, despite patrols every 30 minutes in his unit. He used hacksaw blades and a homemade key which he got from other inmates, cutting the lock from his door before going around the unit and asking if anyone else wanted to escape. George and 3 prisoners escaped to the yard and then used sheet ropes to lower themselves down the prison wall. The 3 prisoners were caught a few days later, but George was not caught for 172 days. By this time, he had both national and international coverage. He survived by breaking into people’s homes, eating their food and then leaving them thank you notes. Once caught, his new sentence was 13 years, longer than what most murderers were getting. However, he managed to escape again! With two other prisoners and a sawn-off shotgun, George kidnapped a prison warden and took him to a house 1.5km away, taking the people inside the house captive too. 3 hours later George was caught. He was released on 20th June 1969.

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