A "cold-blooded assassin" who's been on the run for 15 years has been caught in north Queensland.
Luke Andrew Hunter, 42, who in the late 1990s was No 4 on Australia's most wanted list and Queensland's most wanted man, was arrested on Sunday morning at a home at Herberton in the Atherton Tablelands following a covert police operation.
Hunter escaped from the Borallon Correctional Centre, near Ipswich, in February 1996, by cutting through a fence with a stolen pair of bolt cutters after wrapping up work in the prison laundry.
The freckled redhead was last seen in prison clothes, armed with a knife, fleeing on foot away from the prison.
He was serving a 21-year jail term after being found guilty in the Newcastle Supreme Court in 1990 for the jealousy-driven murder of his lover's husband, 36-year-old Brian Phillip Nagle.
In sentencing Hunter, Justice Peter Newman said the murder was a "cold-blooded assassination" of his best mate, who was shot in the head with a rifle while on a shooting trip on August 14.
Hunter tried to make it appear as though Mr Nagle had left and removed clothing and personal items from his home.
He then began living with Mr Nagle's wife until his body was found almost a month after the murder in a grave in bushland at Yarrowitch, near Walcha.
During the week-long trial, Hunter told the court he shot Mr Nagle because he had raped and abused his wife.
He was arrested without incident on Sunday morning.
He remains in custody in Cairns and is expected to be transferred into the care of Corrective Services in Brisbane on Monday.
He may face one charge of unlawful escape from custody.
The former farm hand ranked as number four on the most wanted list in 1998, behind the likes of Christopher Skase.
Skase was an Australian businessman who later became one of the country's most wanted fugitives, after his business empire crashed spectacularly and he fled to Majorca in Spain. He died in August 2001.
14 Feb 2011
Another timeless example of how the law 'rewards' convicted criminals.
Only a few years (21) for killing someone.