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Turned away SA prisoner pleads guilty

AAP logoAAP 13/12/2016 Rick Goodman

Robert Rigney was let out of jail in Adelaide to go to his sister's funeral but when he returned, they wouldn't lock him up again.

After lingering a while, he walked away and headed to a nearby police station but the officers there turned him away too.

So he took off, removing his monitoring device, and police didn't see the 33-year-old again until he was arrested 76 days later in September.

Now Rigney has another conviction to his name after pleading guilty in the Adelaide Magistrates Court to being unlawfully at large.

"Thank you very much," he politely said to the magistrate at the end of the short hearing on Tuesday.

While Rigney was at large, South Australia's corrections department confirmed he presented at Yatala jail about an hour before he was scheduled to return.

"He clearly did the right thing and tried to present at prison," the department's acting chief executive Jackie Bray said at the time.

The state's corrections minister described the bungle as "completely unacceptable".

"There was a lack of command and control exercised at the prison," Peter Malinauskas told parliament.

"No follow up. No actions taken. Not good enough."

Rigney had been attending the funeral of his sister Adeline Rigney-Wilson and her two young children, who were killed in alleged triple murder.

The mother, her five-year-old son Corey and six-year-old daughter Amber were found dead in a house north of Adelaide in May.

Ms Rigney-Wilson's partner, Steven Graham Peet, has been charged with three counts of murder.

Rigney will return to court for sentencing in February.

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