Convicted killer William Kerr spotted in town centre and caught after hours on loose in Ipswich

William Kerr, Hollesley Bay prisoner, arrested by police. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

William Kerr, Hollesley Bay prisoner, arrested by police. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

Police have arrested a convicted murderer who spent nine hours on the loose in Ipswich.

William (Billy) Kerr, 56, was reported missing on Friday evening after failing to return to a rendezvous point at 3pm in Ipswich, where he was on a few hours release from Hollesley Bay prison.

He was finally caught up with in Carr Street at about midnight when a member of the public, who had seen Kerr’s photograph in a media appeal, called police after seeing him in Ipswich town centre.

Officers attended and he was taken to Martlesham police investigation centre pending his transfer back to the prison system.

Members of the public were warned not to approach Kerr, who was jailed in 1998 and is serving a life sentence for the murder of Maureen Comfort, 43, in Leeds. She was strangled to death at her flat, where she had lived alone, in 1996.

In April 2015, he absconded from a bail hostel in Hull after being released on licence from HMP Stocken, Rutland, sparking an appeal on BBC Crimewatch and £5,000 reward offered for information which led to his capture. He was eventually tracked down to London and arrested.

Last night, a spokeswoman for the prison service said: “Public protection is our priority. When an abscond takes place, police are immediately notified and are responsible for locating the offender.

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

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