Absconder who ‘couldn’t cope’ with open prison sparked Coastguard alert when he became stranded in The Wash

AN ABSCONDER from North Sea Camp sparked a Coastguard alert after he became stranded in the Wash, a court was told yesterday (Tues).

Garth O’Hagan walked out of the category D jail at Freiston just four days after arriving, complaining he was being bullied and set off on foot heading for Skegness.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that O’Hagan walked along the coast but became stranded less than a kilometre from the prison.

Mr Scott said: “He reached an island on the estuary. He was stranded with the sea coming in. Her Majesty’s Coastguard had to be launched. He was arrested after a Lincolnshire Police officer waded through the water out to him.”

O’Hagan had been transferred from the more secure Doncaster jail to the open prison just four days earlier.

Mr Scott said O’Hagan admitted he could not cope with living in a 12-bed dormitory after being moved from his single cell at Doncaster.

He added: “He said he walked out to get a move back to a secure prison.”

O’Hagan, 23, formerly of Gathorne Street, Great Horton, Bradford, admitted escaping from custody on June 26.

He was given a six month jail sentence to run concurrently with an indefinite sentence for public protection he received at Bradford Crown Court in July 2007 for arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

When he was sentenced for the arson he was told he would serve a minimum of 18 months before being considered for parole but still remains in custody and is now serving his sentence at Lincoln Prison.

Neil Sands, defending, said O’Hagan was bullied after complaining about other prisoners smoking illicit drugs in his dormitory.

“He asked to go back to a secure prison but was told it would take eight or nine weeks so he simply walked out,” he added.

“His aim was to make his way to the shoreline and head north towards Skegness.

“Ultimately he was more of a danger to his own safety than to anybody else.”

The arson for which O’Hagan was originally sentenced took place in January 2007 when he was living a semi-detached property in Great Horton run as a home for vulnerable young men.