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Escaped convicted kidnapper found

A convicted kidnapper who escaped from guards during a supervised visit from a secure unit has been found, police have said.

Mental patient David Burslam, 49, was found at 3am in Macclesfield, Cheshire, having disappeared during a trip to Doncaster town centre with staff from the nearby Cheswold Park Hospital.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "He was found at about 3am today and detained. No harm had come to Mr Burslam, or any other person, during the time he was missing."

Burslam, who was made the subject of an indeterminate hospital order in 2009, was the latest prisoner to go on the run after being allowed out of detention in recent weeks.

Police yesterday said he had last been seen heading towards Doncaster railway station and believed he could have been heading for Manchester, Hull or Derbyshire where he had friends.

His escape came after the Ministry of Justice refused to name 18 on-the-run killers, saying it would be "unfair" to publish the names.

A request by the Daily Mail to release the identities of 18 missing prisoners was rejected by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) - without considering whether it would be in the public interest to release the information.

In response to the Mail's request, which was made under the Freedom of Information Act, a spokeswoman for the National Offender Management Service's Security Group confirmed the department holds the information but it is exempt from disclosure.

She said the department is "not obliged" to provide information that would contravene the Data Protection Act, adding "for example, if disclosure is unfair".

This means the department does not have to consider "whether or not it would be in the public interest" to release the information.

The fact that 18 prisoners have absconded from custody since May 2010 and have not returned to custody was originally released in a parliamentary answer given to shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan on April 1 by Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright.

The decision not to release the names comes after a series of embarrassing escapes by inmates of low-security jails in recent weeks.

The most high-profile was Michael Wheatley - known as the Skull Cracker - who absconded from Standford Hill open prison on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent while on temporary release, during which time he is alleged to have robbed a bank in Surrey.

He will appear at Guildford Crown Court on May 29 charged with robbery, possession of an imitation firearm and being unlawfully at large.

Convicted robber John Arnold, 30, remains at large after escaping from Thorn Cross open prison in Warrington on Tuesday.

Government sources said Justice Secretary Chris Grayling was frustrated with the decision, which was taken without his knowledge.

Mr Grayling has now instructed officials to go through the list and see where possible names of the on-the-run criminals can be published, it is understood.

Identities will only remain withheld if there is a serious risk of jeopardising an ongoing police investigation by releasing them, the source added.

Mr Khan said: "The public are fed up of this Government's failings. Chris Grayling can't keep throwing his hands in the air at disasters that happen on his watch as if they're nothing to do with him."


From Belfast Telegraph