Leyhill absconder and convicted murderer Craig Black told he has put back his release 'by years'
2:14pm Tuesday 13th August 2013 in News
A CONVICTED murderer who walked out of Leyhill Open Prison and was arrested at Tesco in Cirencester was told by a judge that he has put back his release 'by years'.
Craig Black, 39, who killed a sailor from the royal yacht Britannia 19 years ago, appeared via video link to Gloucester Crown Court accused of escape.
He had been transferred to Leyhill Open Prison only days before he allegedly absconded.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC asked him what his current status was and he said he had been returned to a normal Category B prison.
"You have put yourself back years, effectively," said the judge.
"Yes, it's going to cost me time, I know," said Black.
"Any sentence I pass for this is going to be totally meaningless," added the judge.
At the request of defence barrister Paul Cook the escape charge was not put to Black at the hearing.
Mr Cook said he had given advice to Black but he would like two weeks to reflect on it.
The judge adjourned the case until August 22 but said he would keep it to himself because he had spent four years on the Parole Board and had a special understanding of the difficulties faced by long-term prisoners when they were moved into Leyhill.
"I have a very powerful understanding of the difficulties that many long term prisoners endure and undergo when they find themselves in an open prison," he said. "Probably more than most judges."
Black was arrested after he was spotted by a security officer at Tesco in Cricklade Road, Cirencester.
The officer pointed him out to a special constable, who followed him around the store until more officers arrived to arrest him.
Black was jailed for life in 1995 after he had been convicted of the murder of sailor Perri Shiels, 22, a radio operator on the royal yacht Britannia, in Marlborough in August 1994.
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