Captured - but how was Leeds rapist Adam Mark allowed to escape from jail?

Adam Mark
Adam Mark
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Calls have been made for a full investigation into how an “exceptionally dangerous” rapist from Leeds has managed to escape from an open prison for a second time.

Adam Mark, 37, from Leeds, was arrested on Thursday night in the Hambrook area of Gloucestershire, two days after he went missing from HMP Leyhill in the county.

However, questions are now being asked about why Mark, who is serving a life sentence, was still being detained in a minimum-security facility after it emerged he had absconded from North Sea Camp open prison in Boston, Lincolnshire, in 2008.

Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat MP for the Thornbury and Yate constituency where HMP Leyhill is located, said: “This is the first occasion that I am aware of where someone has absconded once from an open prison, been given another opportunity and absconded again.”

He added: “You will never have 100 per cent certainty, clearly there is a risk-assessment done, but if someone has proved once they can’t be trusted in open conditions, there ought to be an incredibly high bar for them to be given another opportunity. In this case, clearly the wrong judgment was made.

“The long term trend in absconding at Leyhill is down, but you can’t just ignore a case like this, and I want a full investigation.”

Mark was jailed in 1996 for three rapes and one attempted rape. He attacked one victim, a 13-year-old girl, while on bail for another rape because of a police blunder later described by a judge as “quite dreadful”.

Police had warned members of the public not to approach Mark. Detective Inspector Jill Kells, who led the search for Avon and Somerset Police, said: “Adam Mark is a very dangerous man. He is serving a life sentence for a series of stranger sex attacks against women and children as young as 12. He has also carried out robberies to fund his drug habit. We know he had started using drugs again before he absconded from prison.

Katie Russell, of charity Rape Crisis, said: “It’s deeply concerning that someone convicted of such serious sexual offences and with a history of absconding is still being held in an open prison and been allowed to abscond again.”

The Ministry of Justice said it could not comment on the specifics of the case.

Alex Newman, partner at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds

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