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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2006, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
Jail break killer still at large
HM Prison Leyhill
Since 1999 there have been 393 absconds, the Home Office says
A murderer who walked out of Leyhill Open Prison eight years ago is still at large, the Home Office has admitted.

Two other murderers and a man convicted of manslaughter are also among the inmates still at large after absconding from the prison, near Bristol.

The figures were disclosed in a written answer from junior Home Office minister Gerry Sutcliffe.

Mr Sutcliffe said: "Since 1999 there have been 393 absconds, Of those absconds, 25 only remain at large."

The figures were revealed in a written answer to Conservative MP Mark Harper.

'Just stroll out'

The Forest of Dean MP said: "It is outrageous that these killers were able to just stroll out of prison.

"Those that pose a threat to the public need to be kept in secure prisons, not ones where they can simply up sticks and leave when they want."

A Home Office spokeswoman stressed these were criminals coming towards the end of their sentence who had been "risk assessed" as suitable to be held in an open prison.

She added: "There is an element of trust (in the system) and unfortunately some people abuse that trust.

"As soon as someone absconds, the local police are notified and they are part of a police investigation."

The figures come in the wake of mounting criticism of the Home Office over its handling of 53 criminals who were sentenced to life but were freed after serving less than six years in prison.




SEE ALSO
Blair in clash over prison terms
14 Jun 06 |  UK Politics
700 escaped open jails last year
22 May 06 |  UK Politics
Inmates walk out weekly from jail
19 May 06 |  Bristol/Somerset
MP urges review of open prisons
12 Feb 06 |  Bristol/Somerset
Murderer absconds from open jail
21 Jun 05 |  Bristol/Somerset

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