Category Archives: Absconds

Open Prison Absconder Policy Upheld On Appeal

Michael Wheatley
Michael Wheatley

A High Court ruling that a policy of excluding prisoners with a history of absconding from being transferred to more lenient open conditions is unlawful has been overturned.

The Government’s policy was introduced following high-profile media reports last year of prisoners with a history of violence absconding while on release on temporary licence (ROTL) from open prison.

Among them was Michael Wheatley, an armed robber nicknamed the Skull Cracker.

In May last year, the then justice secretary Chris Grayling publicly announced that the Government was ”tearing up the system as it exists at the moment” and introduced his absconder policy.

But in April this year two senior judges at London’s High Court ruled that excluding transfers – save in exceptional circumstances – for prisoners with a history of absconding, escape or “serious ROTL failure” was inconsistent with his own directions to the Parole Board.

The long-standing directions state that ”a phased release” from closed to open prison is necessary for most inmates serving indeterminate sentences ”to test the prisoner’s readiness for release into the community”.

After their decision was announced at the High Court, Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Mitting gave the Justice Secretary permission to challenge the ruling.

Today, three judges at the Court of Appeal in London allowed the Government’s appeal.

Lord Justice Sales, announcing the court’s unanimous decision, said: “My conclusion … the various challenges to the lawfulness of the absconder policy must fail.”

Killer, Rapist & Arsonist among 77 who have never recaptured

A killer, a rapist on a life sentence and an arsonist who may never be released from prison are among the 77 prisoners who have escaped in the last ten years without being recaptured, it has been revealed. International drugs traffickers and firearms owners sentenced to life are also among the absconded prisoners who escaped… Continue Reading

Grayling orders absconders to be named

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said there will be “no nonsense” over the naming of on-the-run criminals whose identities had been kept secret by Government officials. Thirteen out of 18 missing convicts, whose identities had been withheld because Government officials believed it would be “unfair” to publish them, have now been named. Mr Grayling stated that… Continue Reading

Prisoner recaptured – but more may abscond now says prison expert

One of two inmates who absconded from an open prison has been found – but the public shoud not be surprised now if more absconds happen in the coming week.. Anthony Peloe, 43, who was serving an indeterminate sentence for possessing firearms with intent to cause harm, was detained last night and is now in… Continue Reading

Minister’s “Knee-Jerk” Open Prison Review

A violent fugitive dubbed the “Skull Cracker” is one of more than 1,200 open prison inmates serving an indeterminate sentence. Armed robber Michael Wheatley, who failed to return to HMP Standford Hill open prison on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, was given 13 life sentences in 2002 for a series of brutal raids on banks.… Continue Reading

Absconder Recaptured

A prisoner on the run for more than a week after disappearing from a charity work placement has been recaptured, police said today. Convicted robber and burglar John Jackson, 48, disappeared on May 16 with a quantity of cash from a charity shop in Ipswich where he was meant to be working. Suffolk Police said… Continue Reading

Robber on the run

Police are hunting for a prisoner who has absconded from prison and carried out a string of robberies, including in the South West. Lyndon Stein, 49, has robbed travel agents and building societies in Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Oxford in the past three weeks. Stein absconded on April 29 from HMP… Continue Reading

IPP Prisoner Absconds

Derbyshire Police is keen to track a man who failed to return to prison after being released on temporary licence. Officers are trying to locate 29-year-old Andrew James Birchall, who failed to return to HMP Sudbury on Saturday, May 4 following release on temporary licence. He was given an indeterminate sentence for robbery and burglary offences at… Continue Reading