Man captured in Bendigo tunnel search

SEARCH: Police search Bendigo Creek for the man who escaped custody. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY
SEARCH: Police search Bendigo Creek for the man who escaped custody. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

A MAN  arrested hiding in a tunnel under Charing Cross last night was earlier remanded in custody in the Bendigo Magistrates Court on serious assault charges.

Nathaniel Cotter, 18, appeared in court on Wednesday afternoon facing charges of intentionally causing injury, recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault.

He was denied bail but later escaped police custody about 5pm.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the man ran into Bendigo Creek and hid in a tunnel under Charing Cross. 

Police initially focused their search on an area near the Bendigo Bank building in High Street.

They cordoned off the boardwalk area between The Exchange and The Good Loaf. 

A State Emergency Service crew arrived about 5.45pm to assist. By 6.05pm police had captured the man. 

Five police officers escorted Cotter from the tunnel and up a ladder at Rosalind Park.

Cotter was last night charged with escaping police custody.

Earlier in the day, the court heard Cotter's charges related to two serious daylight assaults in Bendigo's central business district.

One of the assaults left a young man in hospital for six days.

The court heard that on July 28 Cotter intervened in a fight between his younger brother and a Bendigo Technical Education College student in St Andrews Avenue. He punched the student three times to the head before the fight was broken up by security staff.

The student fell to the ground bleeding from an ear and his mouth.

He was later hospitalised with concussion.

The court heard that on August 5 Cotter was involved in a verbal altercation with a 16-year-old he had been having ongoing issues with.

Cotter knocked the teenager to the ground and continued to hit him.

The court heard the victim was bleeding from an ear and suffered mild concussion. 

Police opposed bail on the grounds Cotter was an unacceptable risk of reoffending, was likely to abscond and interfere with witnesses.

Cotter's defence said the teenager could argue self-defence in the second assault. 

The court heard Cotter was well aware he needed to get his life in order, particularly since his new girlfriend was pregnant.

Magistrate David Faram refused bail, saying Cotter ''strikes me as a troubled young man".

Magistrate Faram said Cotter "poses a completely unacceptable risk".

Cotter spoke up after Magistrate Faram's decision.

"I want to get my life on track. My actions, what I did was disgusting. I should have been a man and walked away," he said.

Magistrate Faram adjourned the matter until Friday.


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