Killer yet to be questioned about escape

A CONVICTED killer who fled the UK after going on the run from a Suffolk jail has still not been questioned about his escape - six weeks after being returned to British custody.

A CONVICTED killer who fled the UK after going on the run from a Suffolk jail has still not been questioned about his escape - six weeks after being returned to British custody.

Mark Ryder was serving a life sentence at HMP Highpoint near Bury St Edmunds for murdering his girlfriend's former lover Stuart McCue, 25, in October 1994.

But in what the prison service called a “license failure”, Ryder evaded two guards and fled on October 12 last year during a shopping trip to Cambridge.

Despite later being arrested in Malaga, Spain, it emerged yesterday that British authorities have still not questioned him to discover how the fugitive killer managed to flee the country.


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Angry West Suffolk MP Richard Spring claimed the failure to act displayed a “shocking level of incompetence” because it involved serious border security issues.

It took the authorities nearly three months to track Ryder down before he was finally arrested in Spain on December 21, 2006. He was handed over to the British authorities on January 17.

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Immigration Minister Liam Byrne, in a written response to Mr Spring's concerns, said: “It has not yet been possible to interview him to ascertain the means by which he fled the United Kingdom.

“The police act on specific intelligence where it is available to detain those who seek to leave the country without having permission to do so.

“Targeted embarkation controls continue to take place at major ports. Where embarkation controls are in place, immigration officers check documents and identity against the immigration database and identify failed asylum seekers and other immigration offenders who are leaving the UK and refer to other law enforcement agencies as appropriate.”

The situation - and Mr Byrne's response - has further inflamed Mr Spring who last night branded the incident “ a catalogue of incompetence from start to finish”.

He said: “I think it is bad enough that a convicted murderer was able to evade two prison guards whilst on a supervised shopping trip and then flee from the UK to Spain.

“It displays a shocking level of incompetence that, after a huge police manhunt to find Mark Ryder, when he is finally found, there has been no time available to interview him and to find out how he left the country.

”It should have been the number one priority once he was back in Britain. At a time of heightened national security, due to threats of terrorism, the public needs to know that our borders are safe and secure. This was a clear failure of border security.

“For nearly three months, Ryder's whereabouts were unknown. The attitude displayed by not interviewing him thoroughly and immediately is simply not good enough.”

The Home Office declined to comment further as to why it had been unable to interview Ryder about his escape to Spain.

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