Darko Desic: family, community of Avalon mobilize
Sydney residents and a long-lost relative are rallying to support a former fugitive who recently surrendered after three decades on the run.
The family of a man who allegedly escaped from a NSW prison three decades ago have said the ex-fugitive should be given a second chance.
Darko Desic recently surrendered to the police after spending nearly 30 years leading a calm double life on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Desic, then 35, had served just over a year of his three-and-a-half-year sentence when he allegedly escaped from Grafton Prison on the North Coast, using a hacksaw blade and bolt cutters in the early hours of August 1, 1992..
Desic, born in Yugoslavia, was originally charged with two counts of growing marijuana.
Now his long lost cousin Anthony Desic, who was born the year after Desic’s alleged escape, has come forward to offer his support.
“I thought he was back in Croatia and we had never heard from him again,” he said. A topical matter Tuesday.
“But seeing him on the news and all this time he’s been in Sydney, in Avalon, it’s just… it’s crazy.”
Desic, 64, lived in a house in Avalon but struggled to pay his rent and was eventually evicted after Covid-19 saw him lose his construction work in cash.
Known to locals as “Dougie,” Desic was reportedly homeless and slept on the beach until he decided to surrender on September 12.
He has been charged with escaping legal custody and is currently in Silverwater Prison in Sydney.
Anthony – whose father Nikola was Desic’s uncle – said he didn’t know his cousin was in Australia until he saw him in reports earlier this month.
“No matter how lonely you feel right now, you have someone who cares about you and is ready to meet and catch up with you and ready to give you a new chance in life,” said Anthony in a message to Desic on channel 9.
Other Sydney residents have rallied around Desic and are calling on the police to “free Dougie.”
Avalon community Belle Higgins set up a GoFundMe fundraiser dedicated to helping Desic rebuild his life, which raised nearly $ 26,000 in less than a week.
“I’m fundraising for a man who deserves your help. Although I’ve never met him, I think everyone deserves a second chance, ”Ms. Higgins wrote.
“Remember he has been in our community for thirty years and found himself homeless on our beach in Avalon. He never hurt anyone. He’s in jail now.
Desic was formally denied bail in the central local court on September 14 and will reappear on September 28.