‘Extreme concern’ over Hollesley Bay absconder with violent past
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner has expressed his extreme concern after another violent inmate fled Hollesley Bay open prison.
Tim Passmore said public safety must not be compromised after Scott Rowland - who was said to pose a significant risk to the public when he was sentenced - became the seventh prisoner to walk out of the open jail in less than five months.
The 30-year-old absconded only 24 hours after burglar and dangerous driver Louis Stanley, 32, also went on the run from Hollesley Bay.
Rowland has served almost nine years in jail. He was originally given a minimum of five years and five months’ imprisonment.
The former carpet fitter was sentenced on March 1, 2007, after being convicted of an aggravated burglary and robbery near Battle in Sussex during which a home owner feared he would die following an attack.
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Mr Passmore said: “This is yet another case that will be of considerable concern to the public and myself, especially when it involves someone who has a dangerous criminal history.
“I’m already scheduled to meet Declan Moore, the Governor of Hollesley Bay in early February to discuss prisoners who abscond.
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“I need to understand how particular prisoners are allocated to prisons and what improvements are needed right across the whole of the criminal justice system to deal with these very unfortunate circumstances.
“I’m extremely concerned about this. We can not tolerate any compromise on public safety.”
Rowland, Sydenham Hill, London, was convicted at Lewes Crown Court after his DNA was found on PVC tape used to tie up his victim.
He was given a sentence under public protection legislation after Judge Guy Anthony ruled he posed a significant risk to the public.
Rowland had previous convictions for assault and attempted robbery and was told he would serve at least five years and five months before being considered for parole.
Rowland and another man had beaten and kicked a householder to the ground. The man was attacked with a baseball bat and threatened with a knife.
The victim handed over £5,300 in cash as well as 500 US dollars and a valuable gold chain.
The robbers left him with his hands bound and mouth covered by tape, lying on the floor of the hallway in a pool of blood.
The victim feared he was going to choke to death on his own blood or suffocate.
Asked why so many offenders abscond from Hollesley despite being risk-assessed a prison service spokeswoman said: “Absconds from open prisons have fallen to a record low but we take each one extremely seriously.
“When an abscond takes place, we immediately contact police and work with them to help ensure the offender is recaptured.
“Those who do abscond are returned to closed conditions when they are caught and can be given additional time behind bars.”