Back behind bars: Murderer who vanished on day out from jail

Photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of convicted killer Paul Maxwell

Photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of convicted killer Paul Maxwell

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THE convicted killer of a West Yorkshire pensioner who was on the run from jail has been arrested.

Paul Maxwell, 49, disappeared while visiting Rochdale town centre on Friday with prison staff.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1996 for the murder and robbery of 85-year-old Joe Smales in Wakefield.

Maxwell was arrested in a park in Salford today after he absconded while on day release from HMP Buckley Hall.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “Shortly before 11.50am today, a 49-year-old man was arrested in Albert Park, Salford.

“Another man he was with has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an escapee.

“Both men remain in police custody.”

It is unclear why Maxwell, 49, would have absconded as he was eligible for parole next year when he would have served a 17-and-a-half year tariff on his life sentence.

His 1998 murder conviction was quashed in 2009 by the Court of Appeal following an investigation into a catalogue of serious misconduct by West Yorkshire Police officers who had provided a series of improper inducements to supergrass Karl Chapman, who gave key evidence at trial.

But Maxwell pleaded guilty at a subsequent re-trial and had been serving out his sentence at Buckley Hall Prison, Rochdale.

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