Stanley Park manhunt for murderer

Stanley Park
Stanley Park
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A man serving life for murder escaped when he went to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for an appointment.

Christopher Thomas was accompanied by a single prison officer when he ran off as the duo waited for transport back to jail.

Police were alerted and a manhunt started in the grounds of Blackpool Victoria Hospital and nearby Stanley Park.

Thomas, 43, was recaptured after an hour at large.

Thomas has served 18 years of a life sentence imposed for murder. He was being held at Category C -low security - Kirkham Prison.

On Wednesday he was allowed to make the 10-mile journey to the hospital accompanied by one prison warder.

He required a blood test and other checks from a doctor which are not available at the prison medical unit.

After the appointment the prison officer rang for transport back to the jail and the duo had to wait for over an hour.

It was during that time that bespectacled and well built Thomas decided to make his freedom bid.

An Home Office investigation is being carried out into the incident. Thomas appeared before District Judge Jeff Brailsford sitting at Blackpool Magistrates Court on Thursday after a night in police cells.

He entered no plea to a charge of escaping lawful custody.

Thomas refused to confirm his name and swore at the judge during a three minute hearing during which his lawyer Jessica Partington confirmed to the court who he was.

She did not make any application for bail and Thomas, who appeared in the dock handcuffed to a security officer, was remanded in custody to appear before Preston Crown Court on April 20.