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UPDATED: Absconded killer found by police

Undated handout photo issued by Merseyside Police of Arnold Pickering.

Undated handout photo issued by Merseyside Police of Arnold Pickering.

A murderer who stabbed a blind man to death has been arrested after going on the run from prison.

Former Kirkham Prison inmate Arnold Pickering was arrested for being unlawfully at large at an address in Oldham, police said.

The 44-year-old, who was jailed for life in 1991 for killing a man he wrongly thought to be a paedophile, failed to return to HMP Kennet in Merseyside after leaving the Category C jail on day release on Saturday.

Merseyside Police said he was arrested by officers from Greater Manchester Police and is now in custody.

Another inmate, swastika-tattooed Thomas Moffett, 51, who is serving an indeterminate sentence for a number of robberies, also failed to return from day release on Saturday but was arrested for being unlawfully at large.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling described the case as unacceptable and said the Government would speed up a planned tightening of the rules around temporary licences.

Pickering, who stabbed 53-year-old Thomas Leigh to death in Oldham in 1990, was sentenced for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 18 years.

He last absconded in December 2009 when he was let out on day release from HMP Kirkham to work on the bins in Manchester city centre and handed himself in four days later in Scotland. He had also escaped from Strangeways in Manchester on a previous occasion.

Pickering, from Chadderton, Greater Manchester, had been risk assessed as suitable for temporary release on licence by the Ministry of Justice, Merseyside Police said.

In a previous statement, the force said both prisoners had been “risk assessed as suitable for temporary release on licence by the Ministry of Justice”.

 
 
 

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