Missing psychiatric patient found
By Anastasia McInerney
Psychiatric patient Neville Garden who has been missing for five days was found in Gippsland this morning.
Local residents alerted police to a man matching Garden’s description in Mallacoota’s town centre at 9.15 am.
Garden, 45, went missing while on Southbank day trip with two Thomas Embling Hospital nurses.
Victoria Police said Garden’s actions were “not spontaneous”.
Garden shopped for bush supplies at a Dandenong South camping store the day after he went missing, carrying around $3000 and a valid passport.
Garden was confined to the Thomas Embling Hospital for 18 years and nine months after murdering milk-bar owner John Voliotis in 1994.
Head of the State Crime Squad, Commander Rod Lambert said Garden was “not” an escapee nor guilty of a criminal offence “at this stage”.
Police arrested Garden who is being flown back to Melbourne today where Armed Offenders Squad will interview him on his arrival.
Medical staff were concerned for Garden’s mental and physical health while missing, Victoria Police said in a media release.
Garden is believed to have taken daily medication for his schizophrenia and diabetes.
According to Mindframe, one in five Australians will experience a mental illness each year.
Schizophrenia will develop in about one in a hundred people in Australia some time in their lives, according to Sane Australia.
“Many violent people have no history of mental disorder and most people with mental illness (90 per cent) have no history of violence,” Mindframe’s website said.
According to the Mental Health Council of Australia, mental health problems are not “always easily recognisable” and can “remain untreated”.
If you or someone you know may be suffering from a mental illness or related symptoms please contact SANE Australia’s helpline on “1800 18 SANE” or contact a local GP or health professional.