Woodbridge: Hollesley Bay prison absconders jailed for eight months

Daniel Best

Daniel Best - Credit: Archant

A convicted robber and a kidnapper who walked out of a Suffolk open prison within 10 days of each other have both been jailed for eight months.

Mark Donnison, 43, absconded from Hollesley Bay Prison

Mark Donnison, 43, absconded from Hollesley Bay Prison - Credit: Contributed

Daniel Best, 25, who was serving an indeterminate sentence for kidnapping his ex-girlfriend from a house in Ipswich in 2007, and Mark Donnison, 43, who was given an indeterminate sentence for robbery and assault in 2007, both absconded from HMP Hollesley Bay near Woodbridge last month.

They were both later recaptured by police.

Best was found to be missing from the prison at 7.50am on July 5 when he wasn’t present for roll-call and at the time Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, vowed to find out why it took police nearly 20 hours to warn the public that he had escaped.

Donnison was found to be missing from the prison on July 15 and it was subsequently revealed he had escaped from another open jail last year.


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Best, of Portal Avenue, Martlesham, and Donnison, of no fixed address, both admitted escaping from prison at separate hearings at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday. They were both jailed for eight months, to run concurrently with sentences they are currently serving.

Sentencing the men, Judge David Goodin said although no expensive resources such as the police helicopter were mobilised following their disappearances, it was necessary to punish them and pass deterrent sentences.

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Michael Crimp, prosecuting, told the court that Best had been moved to Hollesley Bay in March this year and was on the run for a week before he was recaptured by police in Ipswich on July 12.

Best was 19 when he dragged his ex-girlfriend from a friend’s house in Newson Street, Ipswich, into a shed in nearby Anglesea Road on June 10 2007.

Police had deployed a helicopter to search the area and after 30 minutes Best had released his grip on the 17-year-old girl allowing her to escape. When he was sentenced for the kidnap a judge said he was convinced Best was a danger to society.

Donnison, who was transferred to Hollesley Bay in May, had previously absconded from North Sea Camp in Lincolnshire in September 2012 and had been sentenced to four months for that escape.

He was last seen at Hollesley Bay at 5pm on July 14 and his disappearance was noticed the following morning after he used pillows to give the impression he was in his bed.

Mr Crimp said Donnison had been arrested by police on July 19 in Christchurch Park, Ipswich.

Roger Thomson, for Best, said that while at large he had telephoned his probation officer to apologise for absconding but had refused to hand himself in.

Craig Marchant, for Donnison, said his client had issues at the prison and felt he had to get out.

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