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Fugitive who escaped from NSW prison in 1992 turns himself into police after 30 years

A fugitive who turned himself in nearly 30 years after escaping from prison on the NSW North Coast had been living in the sand dunes at a Sydney beach.

Darko Desic, then 35, allegedly used tools including a hacksaw blade and bolt cutters to free himself from the Grafton Correctional Centre, now known as the Grafton Intake and Transient Centre, in 1992.

Police said the prison break took place between 7pm on July 31 and 7am on August 1.

Fugitive Darko Desic has handed himself in to police after almost 30 years on the run. (AFP)

Today it was revealed he had been sleeping rough in Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, doing odd jobs for cash.

“He used to live in the sand dunes,” one local told 9News.

“I knew his name… I heard the name Darko.”

But the fugitive went by the name of “Dougie” and worked as a handyman in the area.

Desic managed to evade authorities for just under 30 years. But his freedom came to an end when he turned himself into authorities on Sunday.

Now aged 64, Desic attended Dee Why Police Station and surrendered himself to police.

He’s been charged with escaping from lawful custody and faced court yesterday.

Desic told police he escaped prison because he didn’t want to be deported back to war-torn Yugoslavia.

He’s now been in Australia so long, he’s been granted permanent residency.

Desic will next appear at Central Local Court on September 28.

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