A convicted robber who “stuck two fingers up” to the prison system when he escaped and went on the run for seven years is back behind bars.
Sean Morrissey, 35, was a year-and-a-half into a six-year sentence when he absconded from HMP Spring Hill in Buckinghamshire in May 2011.
Blackfriars crown court heard he simply walked out of the category D open jail between roll calls, and remained at large until May this year.
Morrissey, who was captured when he was stopped for shoplifting at Gap in Camden, was living under a false name and had got married and had a child since fleeing. On Friday, Judge Michael Simon ordered Morrissey to serve two years in prison, on top of the remainder of his robbery sentence.
“Sticking two fingers up to the prison system and walking out in the way you did is absolutely the most unacceptable way of responding to difficulties,” he said. “The public believe someone found guilty or pleading guilty to an offence and sentenced to a period of imprisonment should serve that time.
“It would cause great concern … if they thought someone who had escaped from prison would not be treated very seriously by the courts, to deter others from seeking to escape.” The court heard Morrissey was locked up for two robberies in October 2009.
He fled on May 1, 2011, three days after arriving at HMP Spring Hill, after claiming he was the target of a prison gang.
Farah Ahmed, mitigating, said Morrissey deliberately got caught shoplifting to “start afresh”, adding: “He found it difficult to go to the police station to surrender, so he went into a store and got their attention to be arrested.”
Morrissey, now held at category B HMP Thameside, was handcuffed to a guard throughout the hearing.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of escaping from lawful custody.