April 11, 2019 3:32 pm
Updated: April 11, 2019 9:13 pm

Psychiatric patient who walked away from Colony Farm unlawfully at large

Thomas Askey is wanted for being unlawfully at large from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.

Coquitlam RCMP

Coquitlam RCMP are on the lookout for a patient who walked away from the province’s Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, better known as Colony Farm.

Police say Christopher Thomas Joseph Askey, 50, was reported missing on Wednesday just before 10 p.m., when he failed to return on a day pass.

READ MORE: Two people in Colony Farm’s custody unlawfully at large

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According to police, Askey “may behave in a way that presents a risk to [himself] or the public,” and anyone who sees him is asked not to approach him, but to call 911.

He is described as six-feet-tall and 181 pounds with black hair, a light beard and brown eyes. Askey was last seen wearing a black jacket, grey sweatpants, a black shirt, white shoes and a dark toque.

Colony Farm houses some of B.C.’s most notorious offenders who have been found not criminally responsible due to mental illness or declared mentally unfit to stand trial.

This is not the first time in recent years a patient has managed to get away from the facility.

In July 2017, convicted killer Terrance Scott Giesbrecht managed to escape from two staff members while he was out on an escorted day pass.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Missing patient wanted on Canada wide warrant found

The Provincial Health Services Authority says about 2,000 day passes were granted last year, and in all cases patients returned.

It says five did return late, which were considered unlawfully at large. But it says all returned within 30 hours, and none hurt anyone.

It says the review process for day passes is thorough, and that they are necessary to help reintegrate mentally ill patients into the community.

Dr. George Wiehahn, forensic psychiatrist and medical director for Forensic Psychiatric Services, said Askey was deemed a “very low-risk” patient when he was assessed.

“Public safety is paramount,” he said. “We make very sure that all assessments take risk to the public and successful reintegration into the community into account.”

Wiehahn could not give any details about Askey’s past, including whether he’s been granted a day pass before.

—With files from Sean Boynton

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