Sunderland carjacker walked out of open prison

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A VIOLENT inmate walked out during his first day at an open prison and was captured back in Sunderland three weeks later.

Mark Roberts had been jailed indefinitely in 2006 over a brutal carjacking in Southwick and warned he must spend at least 16 months behind bars before he could be considered for release.

After serving five years in secure jails he was transferred to HMP Kirkham in Lancashire – where he simply walked out and did not go back.

The 25-year-old spent three weeks on the run and had his freedom over Christmas, before he was spotted back in Sunderland and arrested.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told Newcastle Crown Court: “It was his first day there and the first time he had stepped foot in an open prison. I am told he won’t be doing that again.

“He walked out. There was no struggle or confrontation.

“He was out of prison for about three weeks over Christmas.

“He was spotted in the Sunderland area, which is where he comes from, by the police.”

The court heard Roberts, formerly from Southwick, had not put up a struggle when the police arrested him at the house where he was taking refuge, but had made no effort to hand himself in.

Via videolink to Doncaster 
Prison, Roberts pleaded guilty to escape on December 8 last year 
and to possession of a small amount of cannabis he was carrying when he was arrested on December 29.

The court heard Roberts will now have to wait until February next year before he can be considered for parole again.

Mr Recorder Ben Nolan QC sentenced him to six months.

The judge said: “I am going to impose a sentence of imprisonment for the escape and that will begin immediately.

“The chances are it won’t make any difference.

“There has to be a sentence of imprisonment in almost every case of escape.

“You walked out of an open prison and stayed at large for about three weeks.”

Andrew Walker, defending, said: “He has been returned to closed conditions.”

Roberts’ indefinite sentence was imposed after he carjacked a motorist in 2006 in a bid to show off to his Sunderland pals.

He had been back on the streets for just hours after being released from a previous prison sentence, when he targeted the owner of a Peugeot 107.

Roberts snatched the ignition key through the window of the car, dragged the driver out and punched him.

At the time he already had an Asbo and had previous convictions for offences including robbery.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho