Convict escapes UK jail... only to run back to higher security prison

William Hunter fled an open jail in Scotland as he prefers a facility with a stricter regime

Published

A convict escaped an open jail in Scotland only to hand himself in at a higher security facility 70 miles across the country because he did not like the “relaxed regime” there, a court has been told.

William Hunter, incarcerated for attempted murder, fled Castle Huntly jail in Perthshire triggering a full-scale police search involving a helicopter.

Several hours later, he turned up at Shotts prison in North Lanarkshire, a jail he considers to be “his own”.

Hunter, who is from Glasgow, was jailed for eight years in 2000 for attempted murder.

The entrance to Castle Huntly HMP in Scotland
The entrance to Castle Huntly HMP in Scotland

After his release, he committed further crimes of serious assault, for which he is still serving his sentence.

Solicitor Keith Tuck, in mitigation, said: “He ran away from Castle Huntly to Shotts because he preferred the regime there. He recognises the nuisance he made of himself.

“The circumstances are a little unusual. He has mostly been in Shotts prison, which has a high level of security, and that is where he is most comfortable."

Mr Tuck added that Hunter had spent “virtually all his adult life in prison” so, “ is not wholly unused to Castle Huntly as he has been there a number of times".

He said: “It was a few months into lockdown and he had concerns for his family. He was on the phone to his father and on the spur of the moment he walked out.

“He was able to walk out as easily as he wished. He goes on to prove it by turning up at his own prison in Shotts. He made his own way there and turned up a few hours later.””

Hunter admitted to absconding from Castle Huntly and was jailed for nine and a half months by Sheriff Gillian Wade.

She said: "The circumstances are somewhat unusual. I have to take into account the significant police resources deployed as a result of the action you took."