February 14, 2022 4.57 pm

Paul Robson on the run: What we know about the dangerous sex offender

He absconded from HMP North Sea Camp near Boston

As police continue to hunt for prison absconder and convicted sex offender Paul Robson, more details have emerged about his previous crimes including a terrifying attack on a young woman.

Robson, 56, had only been released from prison on licence three weeks before the attack in 2000, when he crawled through a woman’s Oxford city centre home through a cat flap.

Newcastle-born Robson tied the 23-year-old woman up and put a pillow case over her head. He then sexually assaulted her at knife point. He was given a life sentence in 2000 for the attempted rape and indecent assault of his victim.

At the time, he had also earlier fled his bail hostel on Abingdon Road in Oxford after a punch-up with another offender in the home, according to the Oxford Mail.

He had also been in and out of prison for a lifetime of attacks on women and girls as young as eight-years-old before receiving his life sentence, according to The Sun. He was described as a “menace to females” at the sentencing hearing at Oxford Crown Court.

Robson absconded from HMP North Sea Camp near Boston on Sunday, February 13 and was reported missing at 7am that morning. Lincolnshire Police issued an appeal for information to help find him and admitted that Robson “may be anywhere in the country”.

The force said Robson may be wearing a black long-sleeved Berghaus top, a grey “French” t-shirt, dark bottoms, a dark coloured woollen beanie and a light-grey donkey-style jacket with orange on the shoulder area.

There been also several questions as to why Robson was even in an open prison in the first place. The Lincolnite has asked the Ministry of Justice for a statement of response.

Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Steve Reed said he has written to the Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab to seek assurances over public safety after Robson’s escape. The MP said he has sought clarification from Mr Raab over “why such a dangerous criminal was deemed fit to be in an open prison where he could abscond”.

Matt Warman, the Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness, has raised concerns about the prison’s security “repeatedly” with the Ministry of Justice, according to ITV News. He added that he will continue to “press for permanent changes to improve the system and ensure public safety”.

Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox, from Lincolnshire Police, previously said: “This man is a convicted rapist, serving a life sentence and is extremely dangerous. I believe he poses a real risk of causing significant harm to members of the community.

“Whilst he absconded from a prison in Lincolnshire, by now he may by anywhere in the country and as such I encourage communities around the country to be mindful of this appeal. Since reports of his escape came to light, we have deployed additional resources to apprehend Robson.”

What’s an open prison

Open prisons, otherwise known as Category D, have the lowest security levels. Inmates convicted of serious crimes including murder and rape can be placed in open prisons towards the end of their sentences, if assessed as low-risk.

A spokesperson for the Parole Board told Sky News that it had previously refused the release of Robson, but recommended a move to an open conditions prison after an oral hearing in February 2021. Robson’s tariff expired in August 2009 and he was moved to the open prison after his fifth review with the parole board.

HMP North Sea Camp is described on GOV.UK as “committed to providing a safe and educational environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release”.

The main focus of the prison is on “resettling the prisoners and getting them used to working in the community,” but given the nature of Robson’s crimes this leaves a lot of unanswered questions as to why he was even at HMP North Sea Camp.