Family in fear of prisoner on run

Mark Matthews, 27, from Branstree Road, Mereside

Mark Matthews, 27, from Branstree Road, Mereside

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A BRUTAL attacker has escaped from jail leaving the family of his victim in fear.

Mark Matthews, 28, of Branstree Road, Mereside, absconded from Kirkham Prison on July 8 and is still on the run.

Matthews was jailed in 2007 after being found guilty of grievous bodily harm when he stabbed Tony Burke, also of Mereside, in the neck and chest.

Mr Burke made a full recovery from his wounds and now has a family.

But his mother, Jane Burke, says the family have been left “scared” by the news of Matthews’ escape.

She said: “I only found out about this when I got an anonymous phone call to say he had got out.

“We are scared and we don’t know where he is. He could be anywhere.

“My son is worried about his family and when my daughter hears a noise in her house she thinks it’s him (Matthews).”

Matthews was serving a six year prison sentence and was on day release from the open prison when he absconded in July.

Mrs Burke added: “My son should have been told he had escaped from Kirkham Prison.

“I feel let down because we should have been told.”

A Lancashire Police spokeswoman said: “We can confirm Mark Matthews absconded from Kirkham prison on July 8, 2011 and is currently wanted.

“I would like to reassure the family and the wider public that we are doing all we can to trace Matthews and return him to prison.

“Anyone with any information about his whereabouts should contact Lancashire Police on 08451 253545.”

A spokesman for the Prison Service added: “Prisoners located in open conditions have been rigorously risk assessed and categorised as being of low risk to the public.

“More than 96 per cent of prisoners who abscond are re-captured and returned to custody.”