Career criminal who left vulnerable victim fearing for his life on the run from Hollesley Bay open prison

Hollesley Bay prison absconders Richard Smith, left, and Matthew Wilsdon. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABUL

Hollesley Bay prison absconders Richard Smith, left, and Matthew Wilsdon. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

Two violent criminals have gone on the run from a Suffolk prison – including one man who broke into a vulnerable man’s home and threatened him with a hammer.

The pair have been reported missing from Hollesley Bay open prison Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

The pair have been reported missing from Hollesley Bay open prison Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

A housebound victim of Matthew Wilsdon begged for his life as the career criminal broke into his home wearing a mask and robbed him.

Now 41, Wilsdon, formerly of Orchard Street in Peterborough, has absconded from Hollesley Bay – and was reported missing at 4.45pm on Tuesday.

He is serving a sentence of seven years and six months, after being jailed in 2015 for robbery and assault.

Richard Smith, 25, serving a jail term of one year and 11 months for assault, burglary and theft, has also been reported missing from the prison.

Back in January, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore called for a radical review of

Back in January, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore called for a radical review of the prison system after two Hollesley Bay absconders sparked a 24-hour manhunt. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant


You may also want to watch:


It is not known if the pair have absconded together, and police are warning people not to approach them.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “Both men have connections to Cambridgeshire.

Most Read

“Members of the public are advised not to approach the men.”

Wilsdon is described as white, 5ft 11in tall, with blue eyes and brown hair.

The 41-year-old has a tribal tattoo on his right arm and weighs around 13.5 stone. Smith is described as white, 6ft tall, with blue eyes and blond hair. He weighs around 10.5 stone, has a tattoo on his lower right arm and a scar on the right side of his face.

Calls were made for a radical review of the prison system after a 24-hour manhunt was sparked earlier this year when another two inmates went on the run.

James Regan, 33 and Robert Butler, 34, failed to attend morning roll call on January 13.

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said that safety was not compromised, but added at the time: “I certainly do believe we need to have a radical look at our whole prison system because I find it quite dispiriting when you meet young men in particular, by the time they are 30 they have been inside eight or nine times. That shows the system isn’t working.”

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Public protection is our absolute priority. When an abscond takes place, police are immediately notified and are responsible for locating the offender.

“We are clear that those who do abscond face tough consequences, including being returned to closed prison conditions where they will have to serve additional time.”

• Anyone who believes they have seen Wilsdon or Smith, or know of their whereabouts, can call police on 101 quoting CAD 62 of Tuesday, May 15.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter