Two More Killers Flee Open Prisons

The Government’s prisons policy has come under fire again after two more murderers vanished from an open jail. Duncan MacNeil and Paul Michael Neale were both serving life sentences when they walked out of HMP Sudbury, the Prison Service confirmed.

It brings to five the number of convicted killers to have absconded from the category D jail in Derbyshire since October.

The news has been condemned by rival political parties.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said: “A leaked Home Office memo shows John Reid knew about the risk of absconds due to his policy of transferring dangerous offenders to open prisons. Now we see just how great that risk is.

“It is shocking that the public are having their safety placed in danger by this Government’s chronic and serial failure.”

The Liberal Democrats said the “unacceptable” series of absconds appeared to be the direct result of overcrowding in prisons.

More than 660 inmates have gone missing from Sudbury in the past 10 years.

Officials at Sudbury were criticised last year for spending £25,000 on a champagne party for staff as a reward for “high performance”.

The Home Office has defended the use of open prisons to house murderers and violent offenders, saying all inmates were “rigorously risk assessed” and categorised as being of low risk to the public before they were moved.