A prisoner branded ‘a grave risk to the public’ by a judge was on the run last night after giving guards the slip on a day trip to the supermarket.
Dangerous Stephen Edwards, 44, was browsing the fruit and veg aisle at an Aldi store in Manchester city centre when he escaped on Wednesday.
His disappearance remained a secret from the public for almost 24 hours before police put out a public appeal. Edwards, who is an inmate at Risley prison in Cheshire, was allowed out of jail on an ‘escorted visit’ to help him ‘reintegrate him into society’ and disappeared at 1.45pm.
A nationwide manhunt has been launched for Edwards who was jailed for life in 2001 for stabbing his sister-in-law Julie Tuck up to 31 times and keeping his estranged second wife Anita hostage in a five-hour gun siege at their home in Chippenham, Wiltshire.
At the time, the trial judge Mr Justice Owen, told Edwards he was imposing a minimum ten years in jail before he could be considered for parole.
He told Edwards: ‘The attacks have had a devastating effect on your victims. Their lives have been shattered by what you did to them.
‘It is clear to me that you are a very dangerous man. You present a grave risk to the public and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.’
Greater Manchester Police said officers had since been working closely with the prison service whilst searching the immediate and surrounding areas, and contacted police forces where he is known to have friends and family. They said: ‘Whilst Stephen is a low category prisoner who was being reintegrated into the community, I cannot discount the fact that he was serving a life sentence and therefore could still pose a risk to members of the public.
Life, means perhaps ten years, means able to go out shopping. After all he is sure to have his rights. Who is he likely to injure next ?
You couldn’t make it up.
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