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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 June, 2004, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Jailbreak duo escape punishment
Gloucester Prison
The pair handed themselves in to staff at Gloucester Prison
Two men who fled an open prison and knocked on the door of another jail asking for a stricter regime will not serve extra time.

Audie Carr, of Hereford, and Benjamin Clarke, from Gloucester, claimed Leyhill Open Prison in Gloucestershire was "rife with drugs".

They asked Gloucester Prison staff if they could serve their sentences there.

Charges of escape from lawful custody against the pair were dropped at Gloucester Crown Court on Wednesday.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC agreed it was not in the public interest to prosecute the duo.

Drugs habits

Carr, 29, and Clarke, 23, fled Leyhill after requests to be transferred were declined.

Giles Nelson, defending, said both had beaten drug habits after rehabilitation programmes at Gloucester Prison.

"They were off drugs and concerned about what was happening to them at Leyhill," he said.

The pair were at large for 17 hours, having missed a roll call at 2030 BST on 9 March.

They walked through the night and turned up at Gloucester Prison around 1250 BST the next day.

Adrian Foster, prosecuting, said he wished to discontinue the matter as there had been no violence or threats made in the escape.

They were off drugs and concerned about what was happening to them at Leyhill
Giles Nelson, defending

When he fled Leyhill, Clarke was serving an 18-month jail term imposed at Gloucester Crown Court on 1 March for two offences of burglary and theft.

Carr began a five-month sentence on 8 April for assault, resisting arrest and possession of an offensive weapon. He was sentenced at Hereford Magistrates' Court.

They are to stay at the Gloucester jail until their release later this year. Carr is due for release on 5 August and Clarke on 1 October.

In a statement issued after the hearing, a Prison Service spokesperson said there were drug rehabilitation programmes at Leyhill.

"Any prisoners found in possession of or using illegal drugs are immediately stopped from going out on licence and, in some cases, returned to open conditions," the spokesperson added.

Men fled jail 'rife with drugs'
18 May 04  |  Gloucestershire


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