Murderer Michael Bruce walks out of Standford Hill open prison in Eastchurch on Sheppey
A convicted murderer walked out of an open prison and went to stay with a friend, a court heard.
Police tracked down Michael Bruce at flats in Sheerness and instead of going back to Standford Hill Category D Prison in Eastchurch, he has been transferred to secure Category B/C Elmley Prison nearby.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the 43-year-old - jailed for life at the Old Bailey in London in February 1997 - failed to attend a roll call at Standford Hill on Tuesday, September 17.
Standford Hill prison in Eastchurch
When arrested three days later, he claimed he absconded because he had been repeatedly harassed by travellers in the prison. He said he intended to return after the weekend.
Judge Charles Byers heard Bruce, of Clapham, south west London, was cooperative and not a danger to the public.
Passing a concurrent sentence of 12 months for escape, the judge told him in a TV link with Elmley: "I appreciate you have pleaded guilty and you have been sensible. The worst punishment you will receive really is it may affect your release date, which is stupid.
"Inevitably, it has meant you are back in a secure prison and you will have to earn your release to an open prison again."
Elmley Prison in Eastchurch
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