England

Killer William Bewley jailed for possessing gun

A convicted killer who armed himself while on the run has been jailed for a total of seven years.

William Bewley, formerly of Cumbria, was caught in Kent in June after escaping from jail in 2001.

Bewley, who admitted possessing a prohibited gun and escaping lawful custody, was serving a life term for murdering a woman in the 1970s.

The 49-year-old had been accused of stabbing his ex-wife in London while on the run but was cleared in December.

Bewley had escaped from Leyhill Open Prison, near Bristol, in March 2001.

He admitted the firearms and escape charges at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Tuesday.

'Potentially lethal shots'

He was sentenced to five years for having a prohibited gun and two years for escaping from prison.

Both sentences are to run concurrently with his life sentence for murder.

Bewley had been jailed in 1979 for murdering Ruth Musgrave near Cotehill, Carlisle, with a shotgun.

The court heard he first escaped from an open prison in the mid-1980s and was at large for between a year and 18 months.

After going on the run for a second time officers found him in a house in Walmer, near Deal, following a series of tip-offs.

Officers had to wrestle him to the ground as he reached for a self-loading pistol - a starting gun that had been partially adapted and was capable of firing potentially lethal shots - the court was told.

Judge Louise Kamill told Bewley that his conviction for firearm possession was aggravated by the circumstances of his murder conviction.

She said: "The fact that he had a gun was aggravated by the fact that he has been convicted previously of gun use.

"When he was convicted of the murder he was armed with a weapon - a shotgun.

"On this occasion, he broke into somebody else's house with that gun in his hand and, when he was disturbed, he discharged the shotgun and killed a woman."

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