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Darlington murderer escaped from prison, court told
A PRISONER serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of a disabled man absconded just days after being transferred to an open prison, a court was told.
John McCallum was jailed for the murder of 53-year-old Stephen Humphries, in Darlington, in 2005.
Lincoln Crown Court was told on Wednesday (October 16) that McCallum was being held at North Sea Camp prison, in Lincolnshire, when he went missing on October 1.
Prosecutor Phil Howes told the court the 25-year-old had only been at the jail for 27 days when he went on the run.
McCallum, who admitted murder, was picked up within hours of going missing, after being spotted by police in Boston.
Mr Howes told the court: “He said he didn't want to be in prison with sex offenders.
“He added that the location of the prison made it difficult for him to receive visitors."
McCallum, who is now back behind bars, appeared via video link from Lincoln Prison, admitted escaping from custody.
He represented himself and told the court he did not wish to say anything in his defence.
Judge Michael Heath sentenced him to 12 weeks prison to run concurrently with the life sentence he continues to serve.
McCallum received his original sentence in March 2006, when he pleaded guilty to the murder of Stephen Humphries.
McCallum, who was 17 at the time, savagely beat Mr Humphries to death in an alley way behind the Nag's Head pub, in Tubwell Road, Darlington, on 6 October, 2005.
Mr Humphries, who had learning difficulties and lived in sheltered housing, was subjected to a frenzied and prolonged attack during which McCallum kicked and stamped on his head and face.
When McCallum was originally sentenced, Teesside Crown Court was told how the attack on Mr Humphries, just a two-minute walk from the town’s main police station, was apparently motiveless.
The victim was punched and kicked numerous times, before McCallum rifled through his wallet.
A High Court judge considered the offence so serious that he lifted reporting restrictions that would have granted the then-teenager anonymity.
McCallum had drunk vodka and wine, as well as smoking two cannabis joints, in the hours leading up to the murder.
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