Graham Farrell, a convicted bank robber, has absconded from a jail in Surrey - Her Majesty's Prison Coldingley. Mr Farrell was on day-release on Friday, 27 April 2012, but did not to return. He was last seen heading to Victoria train station.
Mr Farrell was jailed for 12 years in April 2008 after pleading guilty to nine robberies and nine offences of carrying an imitation firearm. The offences took place in South East England between 2006 and 2008.
On being asked (1) why a violent offender was housed in a Category C prison, which are used for inmates who are unlikely to escape; (2) why day-release had been granted; and (3) whether Mr Farrell had been captured, an unnamed member of the security team at Coldingley today, via telephone, stated: "absolutely no comment".
I today visited HMP Coldingley in order to obtain meaningful information about Mr Farrell. The Deputy Governor of Coldingley, Joanne Sims, was asked why a violent offender was housed in a Category C prison. Among her responses were: "no comment", "you have to go" and "speak to the press office".
A member of the Metropolitan Police's Flying Squad, Detective Sergeant Mark O'Shaunessey, who helped secure his conviction stated at the time of Mr Farrell's sentencing that: "This man [Farrell] conducted a reign of terror. His sentence reflects the gravity of this offence and should act as a deterrent to others engaging in armed robbery."
Four years imprisonment and the opportunity of day-release probably does not resemble a deterrence for many people, especially violent criminals.
In light of the fact that Mr Farrell absconded on 27 April, and the mainstream press release made only today, perhaps it is customary to give prisoners' extra time to return before alarm bells ring (almost quite literally).
According to HM Prison Service: "Coldingley is focused on the resettlement of prisoners." It would appear that Mr Farrell is working to his own resettlement programme. Whether the police can amend this agenda is still to be seen.