Prison absconders finally named

IN a victory for common sense the names of historic absconders still on the run from a Suffolk open prison have finally been revealed.

Colin Adwent

IN a victory for common sense the names of historic absconders still on the run from a Suffolk open prison have finally been revealed.

Civil servants were forced into a u-turn after pressure from the East Anglian Daily Times and Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer following the Ministry of Justice's refusal to release the identities of HMP Hollesley Bay fugitives.

Originally the ministry turned down the request, citing prisoners' rights under the Data Protection Act.

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It also asserted that identification could hinder any police operation to recapture absconders who were still at large.

However, an incensed Mr Gummer took the matter up with Justice Secretary Jack Straw earlier this week, and Mr Straw agreed to release the information immediately.

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Yesterday government officials gave Suffolk Police the names of the prisoners still on the run after having left the open prison between January 1, 2007 and March 31 this year.

Although the figure was put at three absconders on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the force said there were now only two.

She said: “We have been supplied with the names by the Ministry of Justice and are happy to release them.”

The pair are Augustine Tangue, a 40-year-old, who was serving an 18-month sentence for false imprisonment when he went missing on July 10, 2007, and Edward McDonagh, a 36-year-old thief, who had been jailed for four years and 11 months.

McDonagh absconded on December 9, 2007.

Neither man had any prior connection with this area.

After his meeting with Mr Straw, Mr Gummer said: “We have won this battle to know who has absconded, how many have been caught and what they were in prison for. We have made the government give way.

“It's a victory for common sense. When people are imprisoned for crimes, until they have paid the penalty for those crimes, they don't have the right to demand the sort of protection that ordinary people who are innocent can demand.”

Meanwhile, another Hollesley Bay inmate who absconded seven days ago is still at large.

Joseph Donoghue, 26, who was serving four years for burglary, was seen making off on foot around 6pm last Saturday.

He has connections to the Leicester area and Ireland, but is also known to travel around the country.

Anyone who may have information about where he is now should telephone Suffolk Police on 01473 613500.

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