Escaped armed robber David Blood no threat, says solicitor

David Blood David Blood absconded from HMP Ford in West Sussex on 12 June

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A convicted armed robber who absconded from an open prison does not pose a threat to the public, his solicitor has said.

David Blood, 48, escaped from HMP Ford in West Sussex on Thursday.

Solicitor Iqbal Singh Kang said Blood may have escaped because he was unhappy with changes to the prison regime.

But a Birmingham businessman who was robbed at his home by Blood and his gang said he was a dangerous man with no respect for life.

Tony Swannie, who runs two shopping centres in the Black Country, said: "This violent man shouldn't have been allowed to escape."

He argued Blood should never have been put in an open jail and said the robbery had been traumatic for his family, adding: "it took months for our kids to get through this".

And Mr Swannie warned: "He's not a cigarette smuggler or a VAT fraudster."

Temporary released denied

Blood was jailed after he committed a string of armed robberies in the West Midlands 11 years ago.

Mr Kang, Blood's solicitor, said his escape may have been "something to do with the restrictive regime the governors across the country in open prisons instilled" after the escape of Michael Wheatley, nicknamed the Skullcracker.

And he said: "David Blood is definitely not a dangerous offender, if he was then he's certainly not now."

Mr Kang added he last spoke to his client three weeks ago and he seemed unhappy at being denied a temporary release.

The Ministry of Justice would not comment on Blood's case but said there had been "major changes to tighten up temporary release processes and open prison eligibility".

It went on to add: "Open prisons and temporary licence are an important tool in rehabilitating long-term offenders but not at the expense of public safety."

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