Convicted rapist and murderer on death row escapes prison

A DEATH row inmate convicted of raping a married woman in front of her two-year-old daughter and then using an iron bar to beat them to death has escaped from custody.

The Post-Courier reported today that the convict, Ben Simakot Simbu, 31, from Yangkok in West Sepik Province was convicted of willfully murdering Wupiano and Francisca Menapol at their home in Vanimo in 2002 after Wupiano had refused to give him a live chicken on credit.

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He was sentenced in March 2004 by Justice Ambeng Kandakasi.

He has been serving time at Bomana jail, outside Port Moresby, and escaped last Monday while visiting Port Moresby General Hospital’s eye clinic.

The prison’s commanding officer Haraha Keko is appealing to the public to report to his office if they know of the fugitive’s whereabouts.

Simakot becomes fugitive number 209 who has escaped from jail and is on the run. “A search was launched right after my office was notified of the escape. All known contacts including the police have been alerted.

“My management and I would really appreciate if the public can assist in his quick apprehension.”

Mr Keko said that the Bomana clinics can only cater for minor medical cases, thus, Simbu was allowed out to receive treatment at Port Moresby General Hospital.

“We do not have a qualified medical practitioner employed on site to do assessments prior to referrals. In this case a medical leave of absence was accorded.

“Most escapees run away while visiting PMGH. It is the prime responsibility of the escorting officer to keep close watch,” he said.

On Monday, Aipit Balos, a Bomana jail escapee who had been on the run for 23 years, surrendered to Correctional Services officers.

Like Simakot, Balos, a convicted murderer, had escaped while a tuberculosis patient at Port Moresby General Hospital.

Another death row convict is also still on the run.

He is Kepak Langa of Sangurap in Wabag, Enga Province, who has been on the run since he and 29 others escaped from Baisu jail in Western Highlands Province on January 1 last year.

Correctional Services Commissioner Andrew Waipo could not be contacted yesterday for comment.

Others on death row in various jails in PNG are Gregory Klapkot, 41, Lokanai, New Ireland, murder and sea piracy, convicted July 2011, Martin Pigi, 39, New Ireland Province, murder and sea piracy, convicted July 2011, Peter Taul, 39, Pilapila, East New Britain, murder and sea piracy, convicted July 2011, Ambose Lati, 49, Wabag, Enga Province, murder, convicted 2009, Tobung Paraide, 43, Pilapila, East New Britain, murder and sea piracy, July 2011, Bochea Agena, 44, Duke of York Islands, East New Britain, murder and sea piracy, July 2011, Kenny Wesley, 38, Duke of York Islands, murder and sea piracy, July 2011, Sedoki Lota, 21, Milne Bay, murder, 2007; Selman Amos, 64, Kait, Konoagil, New Ireland, murder; Misialis Amos, Kait, Konoagil, murder; Mark Poroll, 33, Koroba, Southern Highlands, murder.

Early this year, Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika imposed the death penalty on Keith Lasi Aira for the hacking to death of four Chinese nationals in Port Moresby in 2013.

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