3 Oct 2016

Tongan police quiet on how murder accused escaped

2:16 pm on 3 October 2016

Tongan police won't say how a murder suspect managed to escape custody and flee the country on his yacht.

Matangi Tonga reports there was a dramatic five hour stand-off with police at sea north west of Vava'u, with 54-year-old US citizen Dean Jay Fletcher making his way out of Tongan waters.

The Central Police Station in Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa.

Tonga police remain quiet on how a murder suspect managed to escape custody. Photo: RNZI/Gareth Thomas

Police had caught up to his yacht but held off apprehending him when he allegedly threatened to burn their boat.

Police alleged Mr Fletcher had beaten his wife to death, after she was found on 7 July, while the couple were anchored in Vava'u on the yacht Sea Oak.

He was being held in Neiafu, Vava'u, for arraignment in court on 10 October.

However he escaped on Thursday in the early hours of the morning and took his own yacht to sea.