Australian police have defended their decision not to chase an escaped sex offender into a north Queensland river. Tyronne Speechley, 25, and Algana Tiers, 26, were in community supervision under the state's Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act when they fled a Townsville prison precinct on Monday night.
Tiers was caught at Pallarenda in the city's north on Tuesday morning and remains in police custody. Speechley ran into a river and escaped from police, who opted not to go into the water. Police now say they believe Speechley has since stolen a car in the suburb of Pallarenda.
They think the vehicle he may have stolen is a blue Hyundai hatchback, reported missing from a house near bushland searched by officers. The Queensland Police Union (QPU) says officers could have drowned or been attacked by a crocodile if they had followed Speechley into the river.
"It is known to contain crocodiles, be quite deep in parts, and on top of that, with all the equipment that police have on them at the time, there is a very real risk they will damage or lose their firearms, Tasers, police radios," QPU president Ian Leavers said. "As well, that equipment may weigh them down and they may very well become the subject of drowning themselves." Police continue to patrol the Townsville suburb and urge residents to remain vigilant and secure their homes.