UK & World News

  • 1 July 2014, 12:55

Murderer And Violent Prisoner On The Run

Police are hunting a murderer and another violent criminal after they absconded from an open prison in Buckinghamshire.

Darren Douglas, 46, and Ricardo Dunn, 32, left HM Spring Hill open prison in Grendon Underwood, Buckinghamshire, on Sunday.

Douglas, originally from Birmingham, is serving a life sentence for murder after stabbing a man to death outside a pub in 1998.

Dunn, from Burnley, was convicted of grievous bodily harm with intent after assaulting a man in the street in 2009.

He is serving an indeterminate sentence.

Chief inspector Olly Wright, of Thames Valley Police, said: "We are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen these men in the area and can provide us with information about their movements.

"These men were both convicted for violent offences and I would advise anyone who sees them, to not approach them and call police immediately.

"Both men have links with other areas so may have travelled out of the Thames Valley to those areas. I would like to remind people that it is a criminal offence to harbour these men and anyone caught doing so would be arrested."

The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling was tackled over the latest prisoner absconds in the Commons by his Labour counterpart Sadiq Khan.

He said: "The proportion of offenders who are sent to open prisons who subsequently abscond is 20% of what it was when the other party was in power a decade ago.

"I do not believe it is sensible for this country to scrap open prisons. I believe it is sensible to have tougher risk assessment procedures.

"I think it is sensible not to transfer people to open conditions who have previously absconded.

"Those are changes we have put in place in the last couple of weeks.

"They are helping rehabilitate offenders, They need to be there.

"Is he actually saying that should change?"

But Mr Khan hit back saying: "Nice soundbite. They are absconding after he's made his changes. So much for keeping the public safe."

The issue of prisoners walking out of open prisons has been in the spotlight since "Skullcracker" Michael Wheatley went on the run.

In May, the 55-year-old sparked a nationwide manhunt after he absconded from Category D jail HMP Standford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.

The prolific armed robber - dubbed the "Skullcracker" for pistol-whipping innocent bystanders during raids - went on to rob a building society in Surrey.

He was already serving 13 life sentences for a string of raids when he disappeared, sparking a political row over the day release of dangerous criminals.

After being caught, he was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court to life behind bars and told he will serve at least 10 years before being eligible for parole.

It has also emerged that two prisoners, Scott Callaghan, 35, and Billy Harkins, 29, disappeared from the same prison on Saturday.

Callaghan is serving a sentence for perverting the course of justice and Harkins for aggravated burglary, Kent Police said.

Last month Sussex Police revealed that 89 prisoners had gone missing since the 1970s from Ford open prison and are still unaccounted for.

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