'Skull cracker' jail duo on the run

"Skull cracker" Michael Wheatley absconded from the same jail in May

First published in National News © by

Two prisoners have absconded from the same open prison where "Skull cracker" Michael Wheatley went on the run, it has emerged.

Police were told that Scott Callaghan, 35, and Billy Harkins, 29, disappeared from HMP Standford Hill in Kent on Saturday.

Callaghan is serving a sentence for perverting the course of justice and Harkins for aggravated burglary, Kent Police said.

In May, Wheatley, 55, sparked a nationwide manhunt after he absconded from the same Category D jail on the Isle of Sheppey.

The prolific armed robber - dubbed the "Skull cracker" for pistol-whipping innocent bystanders during raids - went on to rob a building society in Surrey.

He was already serving 13 life sentences for a string of raids when he disappeared, sparking a political row over the day release of dangerous criminals.

After being caught, he was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court to life behind bars and told he will serve at least 10 years before being eligible for parole.

Kent Police said detectives were carrying out inquiries to find Callaghan and Harkins, and urged the public to dial 999 if they spot them.

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