Carers not allowed to detain rapist

A rapist suspected of murdering a Norfolk pensioner while on the run from a secure mental health unit was able to escape because those guarding him were not allowed to physically restrain him, a court heard yesterday.

A rapist suspected of murdering a Norfolk pensioner while on the run from a secure mental health unit was able to escape because those guarding him were not allowed to physically restrain him, a court heard yesterday.

Terrence O'Keefe, who was sentenced to life in 1996, fled earlier this year after being taken to hospital complaining of chest pains. He was recaptured in Yarmouth in April and has since been quizzed over the alleged murder of 73-year-old David Kemp who was found dead a month earlier.

Inner London Crown Court heard while there the 39-year-old, who had not been handcuffed, decided to walk out on the “spur of the moment”. The two nurses escorting him were “apparently” unable to do anything but ask him to stop.

He pleaded guilty to one count of escaping custody on February 15.


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Jailing him for 18 months, Judge Simon Davies told him: “Escaping from prison or escaping in the circumstances you found yourself in is a very serious offence and it must attract a substantial sentence of imprisonment.

“On this occasion you were being treated in a hospital for chest pains. I accept this was a legitimate complaint. Nevertheless, you decided to walk out of the hospital and not return. You were not able to be physically detained by your carers and so you were at large for about two months.”

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No mention was made during the hearing about Mr Kemp's death.

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