Monmouth MP demands answers after killer absconds from Usk open prison
8:01pm Sunday 19th January 2014 in Monmouthshire news
MONMOUTH MP David Davies has called on the prison service to ‘think carefully’ about who is put into an open Monmouthshire prison after a convicted killer absconded on Friday.
Mr Davies also said the public has a right to have the full information from Gwent Police about the conviction of Christopher Woodward, 44, who left HMP Prescoed in Coed-y-Paen during the morning.
Gwent Police said in an official statement on Saturday that Christopher Woodward, also known as Christopher Hunter, was convicted of manslaughter in Lincolnshire in 1999, and is not a registered sex offender.
A spokesman said: “It is believed there may be a potential risk to the public due to the fact that he is no longer in the custody of the prison service.”
Mr Davies said: “It is extremely worrying that he has gone on the run.”
“We deserve to know the full details as soon as possible so that people can be aware of how violent he could be. I would hope the police are doing everything possible to trace him.”
Last year Mr Davies visited the prison to discuss high level of escapes with the governor after three men absconded, just six weeks after convicted murderer Brian Grady went on the run.
At the time Mr Davies questioned the risk assessment that allows the prisoners to be moved to an open prison and said absconding seemed an “illogical” thing to do when they were shortly due for release.
“Whilst there is an increased amount of effort being put into risk assessments it is vitally important everyone is carefully assessed before being placed in the open prison.”
“They must think carefully about who goes in there but we must be realistic and expect that people will escape from time to time.”
Usk Town Mayor, Councillor Alec Leathwood, said he had not been made aware of the situation.
He said: “It is a concern. I would like to know that a proper risk assessment was carried out on the absconder before he was placed in the prison.”
Christopher Woodward is described as white, 5ft 10, with short cropped brown hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information is urged to call police on 101 quoting log 68 17/01/14.
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