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Ministry of Justice rules escaped prisoners won't be named after Kent Messenger FOI

By Ed McConnell

More than a dozen prisoners are on the run from Kent jails - but you're not allowed to know who they are, despite a Kent Messenger appeal.

In May we reported how a Freedom of Information request submitted to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) revealed 14 inmates were still at large after escaping from facilities in the county in the last decade.

Among those was a killer, a people smuggler and a man convicted of carrying a gun with intent.

Prison stock image.
Prison stock image.

The MoJ provided the details of the convict’s crimes and the date and location of their escapes but refused to reveal who they were, citing data protection laws.

The KM appealed this decision, arguing in order to bring the offenders to justice their identities should be made public but now, two months on, the MoJ has refused to budge.

Monique Dwyer has been charged with escaping from lawful custody after she absconded from an open prison more than ten years ago. Picture: Kent Police
Monique Dwyer has been charged with escaping from lawful custody after she absconded from an open prison more than ten years ago. Picture: Kent Police

One of those the MoJ refused to name was Monique Dwyer, above.

Dwyer, now 30, had three and a half months left on a term imposed in 2004 for manslaughter when she absconded from East Sutton Park in 2006.

Kent Police issued a renewed appeal to locate her in December.

East Sutton Park Women's Prison in Maidstone
East Sutton Park Women's Prison in Maidstone

A spokesman said: “In the original response you were told personal information is exempt under The FOI Act. I have examined whether the conclusion reached in the first response was correct, and I have concluded that it was.

“Your original request for the name, date of birth and address of the individuals you listed was considered under the Data Protection Act to be ‘personal sensitive data’ and would be released only where absolutely necessary to satisfy a risk-assessed lawful purpose and only then with robust safeguards in place.”

The news comes as an armed robber was arrested after two months on the run.

William Pearce, 39, sparked a manhunt when he went missing from HMP Standford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey - where he was serving a life sentence.

He was arrested in Bexleyheath last Sunday and returned to jail.

William Pearce
William Pearce

Ten men are still on the run from Standford Hill, while four women are at large following escapes from East Sutton Park, in Sutton Valence. Both are open prisons.

Prisoners at large:

Standford Hill —

April 7, 2005 – Conspiracy to defraud

May 19, 2005 – Possessing an offensive weapon

November 26, 2005 – Deception

December 2, 2005 – Deception

December 3, 2005 – Trespass with intent

March 1, 2006 – Assisting illegal immigrants

March 19, 2008 – Contempt of court

June 2, 2008 – Burglary

November 11, 2008 – Possessing a firearm with intent

December 2, 2008 – Burglary

East Sutton Park —

April 9, 2005 – Importing/exporting drugs April 9, 2005 – Importing/exporting drugs

November 28, 2005 – Customs evasion

September 16, 2006 – Manslaughter

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