When sentencing murderer Adam John Bowhay to 23 years in jail, the judge remarked that he was a criminal who never benefited from his previous stints in prison.
Bowhay was a career criminal, Justice John Dunford said, who had decided that ''society's rules do not apply to him''.
Little had changed from the 16 years the convicted killer spent in prison when on Tuesday afternoon he absconded while carrying out supervised community work in Cooma in southern NSW. The 34-year-old, who had just had his parole application rejected by the State Parole Authority, has not been sighted since.
Police have warned that Bowhay is dangerous and have launched a major search for him, believing he is still within the Snowy Mountains region.
''We'll concentrate on the area where he was last seen and surrounding, and that will get more expansive as time goes on,'' Queanbeyan Inspector Neil Grey said.
Bowhay was convicted in 1998 for the murder of Steven Jarvis, 42, in the northern NSW town of Casino a year earlier.
The then 18-year-old and his 14-year-old girlfriend had just arrived in the town, having left the central coast a month earlier, and had committed several crimes along the way to fund their travels.
Jarvis was stabbed six times in the front of the neck and his body was found in a reserve near the Richmond River.
Bowhay was given a non-parole period of 16 years, which was due to expire on March 19. His parole application was rejected, however, with the Serious Offenders Review Council recommending he participate in ''more approved external leave before being considered for parole''.
He was doing community work for Cooma Council as part of an approved pre-release work program.