Sunday, August 11, 2013

Killer accused of abducting toddler still on the run - TVNZ

Published: 5:37AM Monday August 12, 2013 Source: ONE News

Phillip Layton Edwards (Source: ONE News)

Phillip Layton Edwards - Source: ONE News

Police on Coates Crescent, Panmure (Source: ONE News)

Police on Coates Crescent, Panmure - Source: ONE News

A two-year-old boy is back safe with his mother this morning, but police are continuing their search for the convicted killer accused of abducting him.

Police last night reunited Gabriel Donnelly with his mother after he was allegedly taken from the Auckland suburb of Panmure yesterday afternoon.

The two-year-old boy was taken from an address in Coates Crescent at about 12.45pm and was found safe and well at 7.45pm.

Police are still hunting for Phillip Layton Edwards, 33, in relation to the incident, which they were treating as an abduction.

Police told ONE News Edwards was known to the family but was not related. They said he was in an agitated state when he left with the little boy.

Police said Edwards had made threats to the child's safety via texts to the boy's mother.

The Armed Offenders Squad was sent to the scene because police were concerned Edwards may have access to firearms.

Edwards was wearing a navy blue jersey, black jeans, white Nike shoes and carrying a grey hoodie when he allegedly kidnapped Gabriel.

Inspector Peter Raynes said a significant amount of police resources were assigned to the case, including a helicopter.

Neighbours say they're concerned Edwards remains on the loose.

Screams heard

A neighbour said he heard screams from an address nearby.

"From the scream, she (the mother) just got off the ground and started running up the road there, then yeah the baby he went back inside and the baby came out and then he came outside and picked up the baby and ran off."

He said it's not the first time Edwards had been at the address.

Edwards killed celebrity interior designer David McNee at his central Auckland home in July 2003. He was found guilty of manslaughter in August 2004 and sent to jail for nine years, with a minimum period of four-and-a-half years.

Edwards killed Mr McNee just 11 days after coming out of jail and had already amassed 56 convictions.

He was living rough on the streets when he was picked up by Mr McNee in a sex-for-money agreement that ended with the designer lying dead after a ferocious beating.

Edwards admitted hitting the designer but said the beating happened only after Mr McNee began touching him - breaking an agreed rule that there would be no physical contact in a sex act for which Edwards was to be paid $120.

According to the Sensible Sentencing Trust website he was released on parole in February 2012 but returned to prison in September 2012 over an assault charge.

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