Absconder jailed after trying to get a lift home

Court news.
Court news.

A Lincolnshire man who tried to get a lift home after walking out of an open prison was jailed for an extra six months yesterday (Monday).

Phillip Bell, 43, left Hatfield open prison, near Doncaster, while serving a eight year sentence for his role in a drugs conspiracy.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Bell was noticed missing by staff from a 6.30pm roll call on 18 November this year.

The court was told Bell knew somebody who lived near the prison and asked them for a lift back to the Boston area.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said at 8.20pm on the same day Bell was seen in the passenger seat of a car which was spotted at the Holdingham roundabout in Sleaford. The car was heading towards Boston.

The car was stopped by police, Mr Howes told the court. Bell initially tried to “wander off” claiming he needed the toilet while the car drove off.

When he was approached by a police officer Bell became co-operative. He admitted escaping from the prison and claimed he had a problem with two inmates who he refused to name.

Jack Talbot, mitigating, told the court Bell was a trusted prisoner who worked outside the jail six days a week in a maintenance role at a racing college.

Mr Talbot said Bell was threatened by other inmates over a debt and decided to leave the prison to visit his family in the Boston area.

“He has seven children and they are a very close family,” Mr Talbot added.

“He was going to Boston and had only been missing for around an hour and a half. He expected to be apprehended and returned to custody.”

Bell, formerly of Green View, Kirton, admitted escaping from lawful custody on 18 November this year.

Passing a six month consecutive jail sentence Recorder Allan Dooley told him: “There is no question in my mind this offence passes the custody threshold.

“This was a deliberate misuse of the freedom and privilege you as an open prison had been admitted.”