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London - A rapist serving a life sentence for a ‘truly horrendous’ attack stole a prison bicycle and rode to freedom from an open jail.

Wayne Jones, 39, pedalled 25 miles before he was caught.

Jones had been transferred to the category D North Sea Camp prison, near Boston, Lincolnshire, days before he escaped. He had been at high-security HMP Wakefield, but was nearing the end of his term.

The prisoner was jailed in 2001 for the terrifying rape, when he held a screwdriver to a woman’s throat and threatened to stab her in the face.

Inmates and staff at North Sea Camp use bicycles to get around because of the size of the prison.

Jones was discovered missing during an evening check on inmates and police launched a hunt, warning members of the public not to approach him. A court heard he reached the market town of Sleaford before being caught.

Edna Leonard, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court: ‘On the evening of November 25, one of the officers was checking on the whereabouts of the defendant and realised he wasn’t on the premises. The following morning, a member of the public phoned the police?…?[and] the prison realised he had stolen one of their bikes. He tried to run off and he was arrested.’

Jones, formerly of Stockport, Greater Manchester, admitted escaping from custody and received a further, six-month jail sentence.

Chris Jeyes, defending, said: ‘Finding an opportunity, he took it. He knows he shouldn’t have done.

‘Quite how he was ever expected properly to adjust to conditions moving from the very highest security category to the very lowest is not clear, particularly when he had been in prison so long in a high-security jail. The move was doomed to failure.’

When Jones was jailed in 2001, the judge told him: ‘You have to be viewed as a significant risk to the public. This rape was truly horrendous.’

A Prison Service spokesman said: ‘Absconds from open prison are rare and when individuals are recaptured they face more time behind bars.’

Daily Mail