Violent killer escapes from prison day trip for second time.
Here is a typical example of the modern “soft-on-crime” policies currently being pursued with such blind zeal in Britain today.
(link) A violent criminal who murdered a man after fleeing a prison boat trip has escaped for the second time - while on a shopping trip to Debenhams.
Last night there was outrage that Mark Ryder, 37, was allowed to make the day trip despite having escaped jail in the past and killed a man when he should have been behind bars.
Despite his record - and the fact that he was still three years from the end of his minimum term - Prison Service chiefs decided he was trustworthy enough to be escorted on the trip to help prepare him for release. But Ryder, who has a cross tattooed on his forehead, gave prison officers the slip on Thursday afternoon while in a busy branch of Debenhams in the Grafton Centre, in Cambridge.
The former market trader is supposed to be serving a life sentence for murder at Category C Highpoint Prison, near Haverhill, in Suffolk. The prison has previously been nicknamed "Hi-de-Highpoint" - after the television holiday camp - because of its alleged easygoing regime.
Town visits are considered part of "rehabilitation process" needed to prepare prisoners for release.
Ryder was jailed for life for murdering his girlfriend's former lover Stuart McCue, 25, in October 1994 and was given a minimum tariff of 15 years behind bars.
He carried out the killing after spending months on the run from prison officials and the police. Ryder blasted Mr McCue with a sawn off shotgun in May 2003 after spotting him with two children outside a social club on Brighton council estate.
Last night a Suffolk Police source said: "It is outrageous that a prisoner with his record was allowed out on a day trip. Clearly the Prison Service was wrong to trust him to behave responsibly as events have proved."
Local Tory MP Richard Spring said he was astonished Ryder had been let out. "The whole criminal justice system is actually collapsing before our eyes. This is a warning sign to the Government. We have to take the greatest care with people like this throughout their whole sentence. The public are really getting sick of this now."
A Prison Service spokeswoman confirmed that Ryder had been given the escorted day trip to Cambridge to help prepare him for his eventual release. But she refused to discuss why he was given the privilege when he had committed a murder while on the run in the past. She said: "He was issued with a temporary licence to go out for the day, but he failed to return. We are treating it as a licence failure rather than an abscond.
"Prisoners are only allowed out on trips after a very thorough risk assessments. All cases are considered individually on their own merits."