Brandon Victor Pillay, aka Ricardo Pisano

British police have arrested a South African criminal for the murder of a 62-year-old gay man after an almost year long international manhunt.

Ricardo Pisano, also known as Ricky, Ree, and who is believed to actually be Brandon Victor Pillay from South Africa, was arrested in the early hours of Monday morning in Southampton following a disturbance in a house, said Sussex police.

Pillay had been sought in connection with the death of Michael Polding in Brighton.

Polding’s decomposing body was found in his flat on 16 July 2012. It is thought that he may have been killed two months earlier. He died from multiple injuries.

Police believe that Pillay was friends with Polding and that they saw each other regularly.

“There had been an international search for Pisano also known as Ricky, Ree, and Brandon Victor Pillay, who has links to South Africa and New Zealand, after he was believed to have been the last person to see Michael Polding alive,” said police in a statement.

“The search has included liaison with law enforcement agencies and the public via a dedicated website seeking information.”

Believed to be around 36-years-old, Pillay was last seen at the Marlans shopping centre in Southampton on July 28 last year. He has previously passed himself off as a New Zealander, an Aboriginal Australian and an Italian.

Described by The Star newspaper as ‘SA’s Artful Dodger’, Pillay gained notoriety twelve years ago when he walked out of a New Zealand prison while serving a 15-month sentence for extortion.

Pillay was dubbed “New Zealand’s greatest prison escaper” as the only prisoner who had never been recaptured after escaping from a prison in the Waikato region. He then appears to have made his way to the UK.

Pillay is now in custody in Brighton and is being interviewed by members of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team.

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