Arrest of the Colin Winchester murder suspect, David Harold Eastman, left, at his Reid flat. Photo: Graham Tidy
After more than two decades at the centre of the ACT's most notorious crime, David Eastman made a surprisingly subdued exit from behind bars.
Huddled under a grey blanket, Eastman laid on the back seat of a car as he was driven from Canberra's prison less than two hours after he learned he would be released.
In doing so, the 68-year-old avoided the waiting media pack, which turned its attention to the Alexander Maconochie Centre in Hume as soon as Eastman was granted bail.
Media crews had begun to assemble in a cordoned off area outside the jail early in the day to await news of his fate.
He had not appeared in the ACT Supreme Court in person, but, as throughout most of the recent court proceedings, listened via audiovisual link from the prison.
Once judges granted Eastman conditional bail, it was understood he could walk free within hours and once the required paperwork was in order.
All eyes were on a large roller door at the prison's main entrance, where Eastman was expected to leave in a civilian vehicle and without police escort.
Police officers began to line the main driveway about 5.30pm.
The roller door opened and two cars emerged and slowly headed towards the Monaro Highway shortly before 6pm.
The first was driven by a man and there was a passenger in the front seat. There were two men, as well as Eastman, in the second car.
It's not known who the people in the cars were, or where Eastman will go between now and his next court appearance on September 11.
Eastman became one of the most high-profile inmates at Canberra's jail after he was transferred from a NSW prison in 2009 to serve out his sentence.
Friday's low-key departure will likely be the start of an uphill battle to adjust to life beyond the four walls of a prison since he was jailed for Colin Winchester's murder in 1995.