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  1. ITV Report

Killer recaptured in Australia after 15 years on the run

Simon Hennessey. Photo: ITV News archive

A convicted killer from Plymouth who has been on the run for 15 years after escaping from a Gloucestershire prison has been recaptured - in Australia.

Simon Hennessey was only 14 when he killed his 72-year-old aunt, Mary Webber, back in 1978.

The teenager was found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

After pleading guilty on the grounds he was mentally ill, Hennessey was sent to a secure mental unit for life. But 20 years later he was re-categorised as a low risk Category D prisoner and was sent to Leyhill Open Prison in Gloucestershire.

Hennessey escaped from Leyhill Open Prison in Gloucestershire in December 1998. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

He escaped in early December after just three days at the prison, and although he was recaptured, he walked out again just before Christmas.

An unsuccessful search for the killer concentrated on Europe. Hennessey remained at large until April this year when police in Australia arrested him on suspicion of several counts of credit card fraud. He provided a false identity, and it was only after they fingerprinted him that his real identity was discovered.

Hennessey was arrested in the seaside suburb of Tewantin, north of Brisbane, on Australia's Gold Coast.

If the 49-year-old is convicted of serious fraud offences he could face a jail sentence in Australia or he could be extradited back to Britain.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary are in touch with authorities in Queensland to begin what we hope will be extradition proceedings.

– Avon and Somerset Police

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