Devon

Fugitive caught as he 'tucked into Christmas meal' in Plymouth

Paul Easby Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption Paul Easby was caught hiding in his mother's loft in Plymouth on Christmas Day

A fugitive convict who was found hiding in his mother's loft as he prepared to "tuck into his Christmas dinner" has been jailed for 26 months.

Paul Easby, 42, absconded from HM Leyhill near Bristol on 15 September halfway through a 10-year sentence for robbery and attempted robbery.

He admitted escaping custody, criminal damage and theft of items valued at £1,080 at Plymouth Crown Court.

Easby will also have to serve the 103 days he was on the run.

The police tweeted at the time of his latest arrest on 25 December:

Easby was first reported missing from the open prison at 20:40 GMT on 15 September. The court heard the health centre was then found to have been broken into.

The prosecution said its window had been forced and it is believed Easby used it as his way out.

Easby, who previously escaped custody in 2013, was sheltered for three weeks by friends in Camborne, Cornwall.

But he "broke their trust" when he stole their car, two laptops, a PlayStation, medication and a bank card.

The court heard Easby sent his hosts a WhatsApp picture of himself smiling in the driver's seat of their car.

Prosecutor Sally Daulton QC said it is unclear whether or not the couple knew he was on the run but the defence insisted they must have known.

Jason Beale QC, defending, said Easby had absconded to see his terminally ill aunt but Judge Paul Darlow rejected the motive.

He said Easby had an "appalling record" and had committed a "gross breach of trust against friends who had given you shelter".

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