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  • "How can a prisoner (Pickering) who has absconded on three previous occasions be returned to open conditions? That decision needs thoroughly investigating. If a prisoner absconds once then he demonstrates that he cannot be trusted and should remain in secure conditions until his final release.
    But on the whole, this situation demonstrates the mentality of the types of people these really are. Release On Temporary Licence is a valuable tool in the rehabilitation armoury. When prisoners are coming to the end of their sentences they are generally moved to open prisons where they are then, gradually allowed to work in the community in order to help them prepare for final release. Anyone who absconds under that regime must surely understand that by absconding they ultimately put their final release prospects back by years, not merely months. You would have to be a complete imbecile to abscond at that stage. Perhaps certain people just cannot be trusted to make rational decisions when left to their own devices and should never be released."
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On-the-run prisoner recaptured in Blackburn



First published in News
Last updated
Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

AN armed robber was arrested in Blackburn last night after he absconded from prison.

Thomas Moffett, 51, failed to return to HMP Kennet in Liverpool from day release on Saturday.

A Lancashire Police spokesman, speaking this morning, said: “After he was reported missing, we conducted an extensive search.

“Moffett is from Blackburn and so was thought to be in the area.

“He was arrested at 9.05pm in Canterbury Street by Blackburn officers and is now on his way back to prison.”

Moffett, then living in Roebuck Close, Blackburn, was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence for carrying out six armed robberies on off-licences in Blackburn between March and May 2006.

He escaped with murderer, Arnold Pickering, 44, who was serving a life sentence for stabbing a disabled man in 1990.

Pickering, from Chadderton in Greater Manchester, has not yet been found.

The prisoners had both been risk assessed as suitable for temporary release on licence by the Ministry of Justice.


Officers are appealing to anyone with any information on Pickering's whereabouts to call Merseyside Police on either 0151 777 3803 or 0151 777 3891, or via 101.

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