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Grayling vows to name convicts on the run

JUSTICE Secretary Chris Grayling said there will be "no nonsense" over the naming of on-the-run criminals whose identities had been kept secret by Government officials.

Thirteen out of 18 missing convicts, whose identities had been withheld because Government officials believed it would be "unfair" to publish them, have now been named.

Mr Grayling stated that data protection laws will not be used to protect them, arguing: "They are wanted men and should be treated as such. That's why on my watch we will not hold back their names, unless the police ask us for operational reasons."

It comes after a Freedom of Information request to release the identities of missing prisoners had been rejected by the Ministry of Justice - without considering whether it would be in the public interest to release the information.

The request was made after armed robbed Michael Wheatley - known as " Skull cracker" - absconded while on temporary release from an open prison three weeks ago.

Rapist Robert Jones, arsonist Shied Riasat, burglars Viorel Avadanii and Steven Fortnam and robbers Sean Morrisey, Cesk Hanja and Islam Aslam are among 13 names which have now been published.

Andrew Akuffo, who was serving life for wounding with intent, drugs and firearms offences, Michael Collinson who was given almost seven years for wounding with intent, and Tom Zolynski, a carer who stole £10,000 from a frail, elderly man, are also at large.

It was reported that of the five names being withheld, two have been recaptured and face criminal charges while police have asked for three more to stay classified on "operational" grounds.

Mr Grayling said: "We take any abscondings seriously, reporting it to police immediately. The police catch most of them quickly.

"Even so, I think the rules in open prisons have been too lax and I am tightening them."

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