HMP Kirkham prisoner went on the run for two years before being captured
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Oliver Pilkington, who was due to be released within weeks, pleaded guilty to escaping from custody and was given an extra 12 months.
The 27-year-old was two years into a four-and-a-half year term for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs when he decided "on impulse" to abscond.
He was only caught when police followed and stopped a car in Greater Manchester 23 months after his escape.
And he later told probation staff that had the police put out an alert following his jail break he would have given himself up straight away. But his vanishing act was not relayed to the media and so he stayed on the loose.
Prosecuting barrister Paul Brookwell told Judge Ian Unsworth KC that Pilkington was a "trusted" inmate and allowed to come and go from the open prison to work locally.
But on the day he disappeared (November 30, 2021) he was present when the midday roll call was carried out, but absent when staff did another check later.
When pulled up by officers in Manchester he initially gave them a driving licence in someone else's name. But he revealed his real identity when questioned at a police station in Blackburn.
Mr Brookwell said Pilkington had been serving a 54-month sentence imposed by a judge at Teesside Crown Court in November 2019 after admitting taking 500 grams of cocaine, worth £58,000, from Lancashire to sell to a group of men in Darlington.
He also admitted being in possession of criminal property amounting to £14,930.
Defence lawyer Sarah Magill told the court Pilkington was "not a professional criminal who has been assisted to escape from outside."
"He had a job and was a trusted prisoner,” she said. “He was entitled to leave the prison (to work). He just walked out. He was never circulated (to the media) as wanted. Had they put a picture up saying he was wanted he would have handed himself in."
Pilkington's girlfriend was in court to hear sentence. Miss Magill said the couple had been together for about a year and she had not known he was on the run from prison.
"She was really shocked by it. But they are managing the fall-out from that.
"He concedes it was his fault. There were circumstances about the decision not to remain (in prison). It was an immature decision. But he is determined to ensure he never comes before a court again."
Judge Unsworth told Pilkington: "It is plain that this was an unsophisticated escape. You breached trust afforded to you as an inmate in an open prison. You simply walked out and failed to return."
He said he was satisfied it had been an "impulsive" decision to abscond and added: "The reasons for the escape were personal, but you did not surrender or make attempts to surrender. Twenty-three months is a lengthy period."
Pilkington, who had just been given a release date of December 27, will now have to serve half of his extra sentence before finally being freed.