A MURDERER who walked out of an open prison near Uttoxeter 12 years ago has been found – living a new life in Ireland.
Anthony Craig fled England for back in 2002, while was an inmate at HMP Sudbury.
He had been transferred to the open prison despite being on the run for a month in 1995, having slipped away from officers while on a compassionate visit to see his sick brother.
The 66-year-old killer had served 28 years of a life sentence for the murder of accountant John Kirby in 1973, who he lured to a park following a meeting in a well-known gay pub.
The former labourer then robbed him for just two pence and battered him over the head with a stone.
Craig settled in County Leitrim, Ireland, and married a local girl called Dorothy in 2006.
He made a living as an odd-job man and was only caught when he rang the Irish police to report a suspected prowler, only for them to realise he was a wanted man.
Now, Derbyshire Police has come under fire for failing to make an appeal for his recapture until 18 months after he disappeared. By this time he was long gone.
At the time they said it was because they had no photograph of Craig, but the force has now revealed it was 'not policy' at the time.
Derbyshire Dales MP Patrick McLoughlin told the House of Commons the force had decided not to release Craig's picture.
A police spokesman told the Advertiser that policy had been changed since Craig went on the run, and now appeals are launched very soon have the convict has absconded.
He said: "At the time Anthony Craig absconded, we circulated him as wanted on the Police National Computer and alerted Lancashire Police specifically, as that is where the offence took place. We did not issue a public appeal at the time as it was not our policy in 2002. However, in 2005 we reviewed the process and we now have a very pro-active stance on appeals when prisoners abscond from HMP Sudbury. Over the years since he absconded we have conducted several inquiries to try to locate Anthony Craig. Those inquiries led us to the Republic of Ireland in 2011, and we have been working with the Crown Prosecution Service and the Irish authorities since then to secure his extradition.
"It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage as criminal proceedings are now active."
Craig was arrested in February and the court in Dublin has now ordered that he be extradited back to England to complete the rest of his sentence.
During an appearance in court he begged not to be sent back, saying: "I have been rehabilitated – Ireland has given me a chance."
However, the decision was made after a succession of court hearings. Craig was bailed until next month pending a possible appeal.