A WELLESBOURNE thief serving sentences totalling more than 12 years for robberies escaped by climbing a fence at the open prison where he was being held.
But Mervin Mason, whose offences included the savage beating of a pensioner who was robbed in his own home, was recaptured six days later.
And at Warwick Crown Court he pleaded guilty to escaping from lawful custody at HMP Thorn Cross in Cheshire.
The 46-year-old of Elliott Drive, was jailed for six months – consecutive to sentences totalling 12 years and four months he is currently serving.
Prosecutor Tim Harrington said in April 2009 Mason had been jailed for nine years and four months at Worcester Crown Court for his part in the violent robbery of a 68-year-old pensioner in his own home.
The victim had been tied up and subjected to a savage beating with a crowbar by a gang who believed he had £40,000 stashed away at his cottage in the Worcestershire village of Hadley.
At a later hearing, also at Worcester Crown Court, Mason was given a consecutive three-year sentence for two further robberies.
Mr Harrington said: “By August last year he found himself in Thorn Cross prison near Warrington, which is an open prison where prisoners are trusted to come and go at certain times of day.”
But when a roll-call was taken after lunch on April 24 it became apparent that Mason, who was due for release at the end of January next year, had absconded.
He was at large for six days until he was traced to the home of a friend in Shipston where he was arrested.
When interviewed later that day Mason explained the reason he had gone on the run was that, because of where the prison was, he had had few visits from his family, and a request to be transferred to HMP Hewell near Redditch had been turned down.
So he climbed over the fence and got a train to Leamington before going to his friend’s address.
Richard Hull, defending, pointed out Mason had not resisted when he was arrested and was fully-co-operative with the police.
Jailing Mason, Recorder Lance Ashworth QC told Mason: “You walked out of Thorn Cross open prison where you are currently serving a very lengthy sentence for an offence of violent robbery.
“You explained to the police why you had done it; but while those reasons are understandable, they are not good reasons. You can’t choose to which prison you are sent.”