Search continues for ''dangerous' rapist Paul Robson as questions asked 'why was he in an open prison?'
A nationwide manhunt continues for convicted sex offender Paul Robson, who absconded from prison on Sunday, as it is revealed he was denied parole five times before his move to an open prison.
The 56-year-old, who is serving a life sentence for attempted rape and indecent assault. was reported missing from HMP North Sea Camp, in Lincolnshire, shortly before 7am on Sunday, and it is believed he could be anywhere in the country.
Robson poses ‘a real risk to the public’ according to Lincolnshire Police, and is a ‘particular danger to women and young children’, leaving many confused as to why he was in an open prison in the first place.
Open prisons have minimal supervision and perimeter security – inmates are often not locked up in cells and may even be permitted to take up employment – and officers are still working to locate Mr Robson.
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Chief Superintendent Kate Anderson, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “We are urgently appealing for members of the public to call us with sightings and any information on his whereabouts.
“We are grateful to everyone who has already shared our appeals.
“He may be wearing a black long-sleeved Berghaus top, a grey ‘French’ T-shirt, dark bottoms, a dark coloured woollen beanie and a light-grey donkey-style jacket with orange on the shoulder area.
“We understand this news has caused some concern across the country.
“We’re still working through lines of enquiry and are working with partner agencies to find Robson.
“We are still appealing for members of the public to contact us if they have any information on this man’s whereabouts by calling 999.
“If you do see him, please do not try to approach him, or try to apprehend him yourself.
“He poses a real risk to the public and we are doing everything in our power to find and arrest him.”
Robson was jailed at Oxford Crown Court in 2000 for the attempted rape and indecent assault of his victim.
He had tied her up, put a pillow case over her head and assaulted her while holding a knife to her throat, and had only been released from prison three weeks before the attack.
A spokesman for the Parole Board said: “The Parole Board refused the release of Robson, but recommended a move to an open conditions prison following an oral hearing in February 2021.
“This was a recommendation only and the Justice Secretary considers the advice before making the final decision on whether a prisoner is suitable for open conditions.
“We will only make a recommendation for open conditions if a Parole Board panel is satisfied the risk to the public has reduced sufficiently to be manageable in an open prison.
“A move to open conditions involves testing the prisoner’s readiness for any potential return into the community in future.
"Prisoners moved to open conditions can be returned to closed conditions, if there is concern about their behaviour.”
Lord David Frost also called on the Ministry of Justice to explain the situation.
He said on Twitter: “One has to ask why Paul Robson, a criminal who is so dangerous he should not be approached, and who as the police say can cause ‘real harm to anyone he comes across’, was in a Cat D open prison with ‘minimal security’ in the first place.”