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Calls for action as another violent criminal absconds from prison

PUBLISHED: 18:07 19 August 2018

Aaron Johnson, who has absconded from Hollesley Bay prison Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Aaron Johnson, who has absconded from Hollesley Bay prison Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

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Yet another violent criminal was on the run last night after absconding from a Suffolk prison.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSuffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Aaron Johnson was reported missing on Saturday night after failing to return to Hollesley Bay after attending a funeral.

Johnson is serving a nine-year sentence for robbery, wounding and assault. Police warned members of the public not to approach him.

The 34-year-old is the latest in a long line of serious offenders to abscond from the open prison in east Suffolk.

Last December convicted murderer William Kerr sparked serious concerns after going on the run for hours after failing to return to a rendezvous point in Ipswich where he was on day release. He was eventually captured in Carr Street after a member of the public recognised him from a media appeal.

Now Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore has said the government should be doing more to help Hollesley Bay.

Prison reform is key to stopping more prisoners from absconding, he said, adding more needs to be done to give inmates options on the outside when they leave.

Mr Passmore also believes that if such support was better, absconding at the site would be less of a problem.

“I think what we need to do is get reassurances from the Prisons Minister,” he said.

“I would like to try and meet him. We have got to have resources for this.”

He said that he was currently in the process of writing to the current minister, Rory Stewart, for such assurances. News of this latest absconder comes as plans were revealed to house sex offenders at Hollesley Bay, which is a Category C institution.

MPs and people living in the community have raised concerns about the proposals, particularly considering the prison’s close proximity to the Hollesley village primary school.

“Why didn’t they consult local people beforehand,” Mr Passmore added. “We need to be clear that this is the right approach at this moment. I am not clear that it is.”

A Prison Service spokesman said: “Sex offenders are already held successfully at other open prisons but their growing number means we need more of our open prisons to accommodate them, including HMP Hollesley Bay.”

The service takes breaches of temporary release conditions “extremely seriously”, the spokesman added.

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