Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Another triumph for the prison service

A convicted murderer and two men convicted of drug offences have absconded from a jail in Derbyshire.

Killer Daniel Driscoll, 33, failed to return to HMP Sudbury on Saturday after being let out on temporary release.

Lee Mulholland, 28, serving five years for drug offences, walked out of the open prison on Friday.

Andre Hackett - serving four years for possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply - also failed to return after a temporary release on Saturday.

Driscoll, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, was jailed for life in 1992 aged 18, along with Anthony Coughtrey, then 19, after being convicted of stamping and kicking William Walsh, a 19-year-old father-of-three, to death.

He was ordered to spend a minimum of 15 years behind bars but in 1998 this was reduced to 13 years.


More than 660 inmates have walked out of Sudbury prison in the past 10 years.

That's more than one a week, on average. You'd think that those running the prison service might just possibly have learnt their lesson by now (specifically, the lesson that convicted criminals are, almost by definition, not the most trustworthy of people, and that if you are responsible for keeping them locked up, it's probably a good idea to keep them behind bars and in your line of sight). But apparently not.

As for the specific facts of this case: there's not really an awful lot to be said. Personally, I would like to see the death penalty for at least some murderers, and life meaning life for the rest. That's life without occasional trips to the cinema, by the way. As such, I regard it as utterly appalling that Driscoll was granted temporary release. But he was, and the number of convicted killers loose in society has just increased by one. Which is one too many.

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