Prisoner goes back to jail after failed long walk to freedom

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A prisoner escaped by climbing over the wall of his jail and going on a 70 mile walk to his home in West Yorkshire.

Stuart Willett was found drunk an a bench in Pontefract two weeks later after disappearing from Sudbury open prison in Derbyshire.

A court heard Willett had walked the entire journey after leaving the jail in frustration at the lack of support he had been receiving.

Willett has been in prison since 2008 for a serious offence of violence and had been serving an indeterminate sentence as he was considered a danger to the public.

At the time of his escape, on January 2 this year, he was expecting the parole board to approve his release.

Leeds Crown court heard Willett went missing for two weeks and was eventually found drunk sleeping on a bench in Pontefract.

The court heard he had been living rough since his escape.

He pleaded guilty to one offence of escape. The court heard Willett had been moved to the open prison 11 months before the offence as he had been making good progress while in custody.

He had been working at a charity and was three months away from being considered for release.

The court heard Willett had been feeling under pressure after being set targets by the parole board and felt he did not have the support he needed within the prison to meet them.

The court heard Willett took an instant decision to leave and had not planned the escape. A drug test taken after his arrest proved negative.

Judge Christopher Batty imposed a four month sentence on Willett.

He said: “What were you thinking? You made a foolish mistake. As a result it has set you back a considerable amount of time.”


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