Hollesley: Serious concerns raised about Prison Service after violent prisoner flees jail for second time

Mark Donnison who has absconded from jail for the second time in a year

Mark Donnison who has absconded from jail for the second time in a year - Credit: Contributed

A violent prisoner, on the run from Hollesley Bay, was last night revealed as having escaped from another open jail just last year.

Absconder Mark Donnison was transferred to Hollesley in May seven months after being sent back to a secure jail in Leicester.

After his last escape a judge vowed he would not be eligible for “any form of early release in the immediate future”.

Last October the 43-year-old was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment for absconding from North Sea Camp in Lincolnshire.

His sentence ran concurrently with what is effectively a life sentence he was given for robbery and actual bodily harm in 2007.

Following Donnison’s latest escape, Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey pledged to take up his case with the Ministry of Justice.

She said: “It is concerning that an offender with a history of absconding is put in an open prison. In my opinion, the sentence should have been added to run consecutively and not concurrently.”

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Donnison was recaptured in a Hull chip shop on September 7 after absconding on August 10 last year with a murderer, who was also recaptured.

Humberside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove has echoed Ms Coffey’s concerns over Donnison being sent to Hollesley so soon after his previous escape.

He said: “I am concerned a man who is serving a life sentence for robbery, and who escaped from an open prison in August last year, has been put back in another prison from which he has been able to escape again.

“This news will rightly raise questions in the minds of residents in Hull and Suffolk as to what processes are followed by the Prison Service so as to ensure the risk of prisoners escaping is mitigated.

“I am sure residents will also be asking themselves why local police resources will once again be spent on recapturing someone who chooses to put two fingers up at the justice system.

“These are questions I will be raising on their behalf with the Justice Secretary (Chris Grayling) whom I intend to write to concerning this case.”

Donnison was snared last September after police officers recognised him.

At his sentencing the following month, Judge Mark Bury said: “You could have received a much longer sentence, but the reality is, here is a serving prisoner serving a life sentence and the real punishment will come because you will not be able to secure any form of early release in the immediate future.”

Suffolk Police said Hollesley Bay open prison officers reported Donnison as missing at 8.15am yesterday. He was last seen on Sunday evening.

Donnison was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection in 2007 for the robbery and actual bodily harm.

He is of medium build, around 5ft 10in tall, with a tattoo of an eagle on his lower right arm and the name ‘Mark’ on his knuckles.

He has connections to York, Bridlington and Hull.

Officers are warning the public not approach him if they see him but to contact police on 101.

Asked about Donnison’s case a spokesman for the Prison Service said: “The number of absconds from open prisons in 2011/12 was the lowest level since central records began, and only those risk assessed as suitable for open conditions are placed in open prisons.

“Those who do abscond will be returned to a more secure prison and may face further charges.”

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