Runaway rapist caught 200 miles away with four-wheel walker and tent

Colin Hogben had failed to report back to Leyhill Prison

A runaway repeat rapist whose failure to report back to prison sparked a manhunt and led to his capture in Cumbria has been handed another jail sentence.

Avon and Somerset Police officers launched a public appeal to track down 73-year-old pensioner Colin Hogben last month.

Hogben, a rapist handed a life sentence in 1994, had been allowed out of the HMP Leyhill open prison in South Gloucestershire on day release, on June 23, but failed to report back at 4pm that day as requested.

Police asked any members of the public who had spotted 73-year-old Hogben to dial 999. He was described as having mobility issues, was using a frame with a seat, and was believed to have access to a bus pass and money.

Colin Hogben was found in Cumbria by police

Days after making the appeal, officers announced he had been arrested.

During an appearance at Barrow magistrates’ court he admitted a charge of being unlawfully at large, past the period of his temporary release.

And Carlisle Crown Court heard details this afternoon (July 29) of his trip north to Cumbria after he absconded.

Beccy McGregor, prosecuting, said Hogben had travelled from Bristol bus station to Birmingham before heading to Newcastle, Carlisle and then Kendal, where the law finally caught up with him on 25th June.

Ms McGregor said he was seen using his four-wheel walker which had a tent packed into it.

He was ‘immediately co-operative’ with officers, said the prosecutor, and described wanting to prove to authorities he could be independent although he knew he would be caught eventually.

Hogben had been convicted of rape and received a one-year prison sentence on 1983, before receiving a life sentence, again for rape, in November, 1994.

Imposing a consecutive four-month prison sentence, Recorder Tony Hawks spoke of the case being ‘sad’.