A MURDERER who brutally beat a teenager to death is now back behind bars – nine years after walking out of an open prison near Uttoxeter.
Hell’s Angel David Richards absconded from HMP Sudbury in 2005 and had reinvented himself as a respectable member of society before he was rearrested last week.
The 53-year-old was jailed for life in 1984 with his then girlfriend for the horrific murder of 16-year-old Michael Groves at their West London flat.
The couple launched a drug-fuelled frenzied attack on the teenager with a knife, hammer and wrench, leaving him with 56 injuries on his body.
They then wrote Hell’s Angels on the wall in the victim’s blood.
Richards was sentenced to at least 16 years in prison but was deemed so dangerous that he was still behind bars 21 years later.
However, just months before he was due to be released he walked out of Sudbury open prison saying he was ‘stressed and fed up’ of being bullied, according to his parents.
According to a national newspaper, during his time on the run, Richards rented a flat, claimed thousands of pounds in benefits, went to Ireland on holiday and even complained to the police that youngsters had been throwing stones at his windows.
The killer was arrested by the Met Police, which dealt with the original murder, at a flat in Wolverhampton near to his parents, where he was known locally as a keen odd-jobber who helped his neighbours.
A Met spokesman said Richards was arrested on Friday and remains in custody at a West Midlands police station.
Louise Bull, the sister of Michael, said she is ‘ecstatic’ that he has been caught but it was her family that got the life sentence when Richards committed the murder.
She added she had spent the last nine years living in fear and full of anger and the family misses Michael at every special event and family occasion.
Sudbury Prison has continually come under criticism for the number of prisoners who fail to return to their cells after temporary release.
Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths has been a regular critic of Sudbury jail as prisoners continue to slip through the net.
Earlier this year, 10 inmates fled in just six weeks, while convicted murderer Carl Moses, who was serving a life sentence, went on the run last summer.
Mr Griffiths has previously told The Advertiser: “If this is happening so regularly, something is clearly going wrong with the type of prisoners they are putting in the open prisons.
“These prisoners are clearly not ready for the freedom that Sudbury offers.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has even vowed to make the process of determining which prisoners are suitable for open jails more ‘robust’ after facing questions on the issue on a visit to Derbyshire.