Woman says the man who allegedly escaped Hamilton isolation facility to buy alcohol is 'the nicest guy ever'

A Queenstown woman says the man who allegedly escaped a managed isolation facility in Hamilton is "the nicest guy ever".

Martin McVicar allegedly escaped from the Distinction Hotel on Thursday evening before entering a nearby liquor store.

He faces two charges for his alleged escape - one for intentionally failing to comply with an order under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 and another for the intentional damage of a 52-inch television belonging to the Distinction Hotel from where he allegedly escaped.

Cory McVicar, thought to be his daughter, spoke to the Otago Daily Times about the escape and said she warned him not to do it.

"He’s the nicest guy ever; he wouldn’t have done this intentionally," she said.

Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said in a press conference on Friday he understood McVicar had climbed down a fire escape and then cut through a fence, all while avoiding police, in order to escape. 

Cory added it was unfair McVicar had been named saying Queenstown is "a small place".

"He's lived here for a long time," she told the ODT. "He’s not some tourist, he has business here; this is going to be really very damaging."

McVicar returned to New Zealand from Sydney on 1 July and had tested negative for COVID-19. He was tested again following his return to the facility and again received a negative result.