Hollesley: Prison absconder Lee Graham fell in river while high on drugs he had taken in open jail
PUBLISHED: 15:40 28 April 2014 | UPDATED: 15:40 28 April 2014
A 35-year-old man who walked out of a Suffolk open prison while he was “high” on drugs was found in a dishevelled state several hours later after falling into a river, a court has heard.
Lee Graham, who was an inmate at Hollesley Bay, was found to be missing during a roll call at 8pm on April 11, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
He walked to Bawdsey Manor, which was about four miles away, and the police were called after he told the owner what he had done.
“He was in a dishevelled state,” said Peter Gair, prosecuting.
When he was interviewed by police he said he had been “high” on drugs after smoking something called “Spice” he had got in prison.
“He said he had decided to go for a walk to the beach,” said Mr Gair.
Graham admitted escaping from lawful custody and was given a 28-day prison sentence to run concurrently with his present sentence.
The court heard he’d been sentenced to an indeterminate sentence with a minimum sentence of two years in 2006 for affray and making a threat to kill.
Craig Marchant for Graham said his client had walked out of the prison after smoking a “legal high”. He became disorientated and had walked across a marsh and fallen into a river which accounted for his condition when gave himself up at Bawdsey Manor.
Mr Marchant said Graham had been a model prisoner and regretted walking out of the prison. “He was at large for a matter of hours,” said Mr Marchant.
Last week it was revealed that the Prison Officers’ Association claimed drugs, bullying and a prison population crisis were to blame for the number of Hollesley Bay inmates going on the run almost doubling in the past three years.
Ministry of Justice figures show 25 prisoners at the open prison either absconded or did not return from approved leave in 2012/13. In 2010/11 there were 13 prisoners who left the prison but failed to come back.
Aside from Lee Graham’s case there have been other Hollesley absconders who have spoken of drugs and bullying by inmates.
In February Ipswich Crown Court heard how Johnathan Ewing fled the open prison after he was forced to look after illicit drugs worth £2,000 by another inmate.
Ewing admitted to escaping from custody when he appeared with fellow absconder Lee Devereux. The friends walked out sometime after 11pm on September 8 last year and 7.30am the following day.
A letter was discovered in Devereux’s cell explaining he felt he did not have any choice but to leave as he did not want to be liable for things due to Ewing’s departure.
In November 2012, Hollesley Bay absconder Lee Chapman told Ipswich Crown Court that drugs and phones were rife in the prison.