July 1, 2022 9.00 pm This story is over 23 months old

Sex offender booked taxi from cell to escape open prison

He spent three days on the run

A dangerous sex offender who went on the run from police for three days after absconding from an open prison in Lincolnshire pre-booked a taxi to make his escape, a court heard.

Gary Butcher, 55, who is serving a life sentence for burglary after being jailed in 1995, absconded from HMP North Sea Camp near Boston on May 31.

Police previously said that after further enquiries they could confirm that his previous offending also included a number of serious sexual offences towards women.

After appearing at Derby Crown Court, Butcher has now been ordered to serve an extra six months in jail.

Butcher flagged down a passing police car and approached an officer from Derbyshire Constabulary in the Swadlincote area of Derbyshire to hand himself in on June 3.

He was later charged with escape of lawful custody and was returned to a closed condition prison.

At the time Lincolnshire Police also said that a 56-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. The man was also an inmate at HMP North Sea Camp, but never left the prison himself and was returned to closed prison conditions.

Butcher has since pleaded guilty at Derby Crown Court to escaping lawful custody.

Prosecutor Adam Pearson told the court Butcher booked a taxi from his cell using an illegal mobile phone the night before he escaped, according to the BBC.

He then stole a bicycle from the prison just after midnight and rode to Boston where he was taken by the taxi to Coalville in Leicestershire.

He paid £150 for the journey with cash he had withdrawn earlier, the barrister said.

Butcher’s escape was only discovered when his cell was found empty the following morning.

Mr Pearson said Butcher absconded as he was worried he would be returned to a closed prison after losing his job on the prison farm.

Defence barrister Lewis Kerr disputed the reason for escape saying that his client had been shown indecent images by another prisoner and decided to abscond as he felt he could not report it to prison authorities.

Judge Penelope Stanistreet-Keen said the reason why Butcher left was “immaterial” and that him “being at large would cause consternation with the public”.