Life sentence prisoner cadged lift from police officer during his escape from jail to Bradford, court told

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Christopher Weston Christopher Weston

A prisoner serving a life sentence for trying to kill a former girlfriend cadged a lift from a helpful police officer after he escaped from prison, a court heard.

Christopher Weston, who is serving life for attempted murder, went on the run to visit his sister in Holme Wood, Bradford, after jumping the fence at HMP Kirkham in Lancashire on May 27 this year.

He was picked up walking along the motorway and given a lift to Preston Railway Station by the unsuspecting police officer after Weston gave him a false name, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.

Weston, 35, then borrowed the rail fare to Bradford from "a kindly stranger" at the station, returning the money promptly in the post with a thank you note.

He went back to the neighbourhood where he had repeatedly stabbed Dawn McGarry almost nine years ago. He had dressed in black and had lain in wait with a knife, the court heard.

He was captured the following day at his sister's address in Holme Wood.

Weston's escape, after seven weeks at the open prison, came almost exactly 12 months after police mounted a manhunt for him when he absconded from Sudbury Prison in Derbyshire during a Bank Holiday weekend in May 2013.

He failed to return to the open prison following his release on temporary license.

Weston, then of Granton Street, Bradford Moor, Bradford, carried out his attack on Miss McGarry outside her house in Daniel Court, Holme Wood, at dead of night on July 24, 2005.

He tried to cut her throat and then repeatedly stabbed her.

Weston told the police when he was arrested for the stabbing that he wanted to kill Miss McGarry and would try again given another opportunity.

He pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was locked up when he appeared before Mr Justice Simon at Leeds Crown Court, who described it as a frenzied attack and labelled him a public danger.

Weston appeared by video link from Leeds Prison at Bradford Crown Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to escaping from HMP Kirkham.

Prosecutor John Bull said he was discovered missing after a roll check.

There was no mention in court of Weston absconding from HMP Sudbury last year, although the police made a public appeal to help catch him.

Weston's lawyer, Maria Temkow, said he was worried about his sister. She was having problems and he was very anxious to see her.

His former partner did not know he was in the area and he had no intention of contacting her. He had not used any violence to escape or harmed anyone while he was on the run, she said.

Weston was now back in a secure jail and his parole status was "substantially affected", she added.

His release date was delayed as he would be unable to return to an open prison to begin his rehabilitation back into the community.

Judge Jonathan Rose jailed Weston for 12 months, to run concurrently with his life sentence.

The judge said he accepted he had no intention of contacting Miss McGarry or doing her any harm but added that Holme Wood was a close community and she could have found out he was in the area.

"She would have been caused very great fear if she had known about it," Judge Rose said.

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