Fugitive told ‘sorry, there’s no one free to arrest you’

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A MAN who escaped from prison found it almost impossible to hand himself in to police.

A court heard how he was repeatedly told officers were too busy, or there was no one available to arrest him, or that he should come back another time.

Judge Niclas Parry, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said: “It was easier to get out than to get back in, it seems.”

The court heard how 20-year-old Danny Thomas Roberts, of Campbell Street, Rhos – serving five years for arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered – had been a model prisoner at Altcourse Prison in Liverpool.

But he was transferred to Thorncross youth custody centre, an open prison for young people, where it is claimed he was bullied by a number of inmates.

Justine McVitie, defending, said he was told by officers he could not apply for a transfer for three months, so he escaped purely in order to get back into Altcourse Prison, she explained.

Once out, he returned to his home in Wrexham and the following day, a Friday, set about trying to hand himself in.

But it took him until the Monday morning before he was arrested, she said.
On the Friday evening following his escape he contacted North Wales Police and asked for advice.

He contacted the police a number of times by telephone and also visited the station.

On the Sunday evening he returned to Wrexham police station but there was no answer.

An operator told him there was no one available to deal with him and he should return the following morning. That is what he did and he was arrested when he handed himself in.

Elizabeth Bell, prosecuting, said Roberts received a five year sentence at Chester Crown Court in October last year and was transferred from Altcourse to Thorncross in July.

But on August 18, at 11.45 pm, he took glass out of the window of his room and left the prison grounds. He then handed himself in on August 22 at Wrexham police station where he was arrested.

Roberts claimed he had been bullied but there was no evidence of that from the prison authorities, she explained.

Miss McVitie said Roberts had not reported it officially but faced with the prospect of the bullying continuing he decided to escape, simply so he could be returned to Altcourse, which had in fact happened.

“That was his only intention in escaping and he spent from the Friday evening to the Monday morning trying to hand himself in,” she explained.

Sentencing Roberts to an additional two months consecutive to his existing sentence Judge Parry told him: “The administration of the prisons would fall apart if people behaved as you have done..”

Inspector Alex Goss said: “We cannot verify whether any person who had absconded from prison  attended Wrexham police Station to hand themselves in. It goes without saying that any person at large who has absconded from prison gets treated as a priority. Any person who attends Wrexham Police Station to hand themselves into our custody will always be accepted and accommodation found.”

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