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Former AFL star accused of using false identity to escape from prison guards in Perth

Western Australian authorities are investigating how a former AFL player turned alleged violent offender used a false identity to escape from custody.

Former Richmond Tigers player Martin Leslie McGrath, 36, is alleged to have absconded after he appeared in Perth Magistrates Court on Friday, where he was refused bail.

Authorities believe McGrath was waiting to be transported to a prison facility when he allegedly convinced security guards he was someone else.

A widespread search was launched before McGrath handed himself in to Armadale Police Station on Saturday morning.

He was charged with escaping lawful custody and remanded in prison to appear in Perth Magistrates Court on Monday.

McGrath had been facing court accused of throwing a brick last month at an 18-year-old man who was riding an off-road motorcycle.

The rider suffered serious head injuries and was in an induced coma for two weeks. McGrath was charged with grievous bodily harm.

The circumstances of the escape are being investigated by private court security contractor G4S Custodial Services/Western Liberty Group.

‘I’m advised it was a case of mistaken identity,’ Premier Mark McGowan  told reporters.

‘He assumed another person’s identity in order to escape and a human error was made by some of the guards that were dealing with the situation.

‘He’ll now go back before the courts, he’ll have another punishment, potentially imprisonment. Really dumb thing on his behalf to do.’

Mr McGowan added that the government would review the court security contract to assess potential penalties or reimbursement of costs.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said the matter had been referred to its professional standards division.

McGrath played four games for the Richmond Tigers in 2003.

He kicked five goals in a memorable debut but only kicked one more in his career before he was delisted by the club at the end of the 2003 season and didn’t play another senior AFL game.

He’s also the cousin of former indigenous AFL stars Ashley and Cory Ms Grath.

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