Murderer on the run found at Grimsby home
MURDERER Gary Lawson escaped from prison and was found four weeks later at his home in Grimsby by police.
Gary Lawson, 30, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of Grimsby pensioner Alfred Wilkins, left North Sea Camp open prison, near Boston, on August 10 with another inmate, a court has heard.
He was on the run for four weeks before police tracked him down at his home address in Grimsby on September 7.
He claimed he missed his family and had not seen them for 10 years.
As widely reported, Lawson, aged 20 at the time and formerly of Ludlow Avenue, Grimsby, poured turps through the letterbox of the pensioner's Arundel Walk flat on Grimsby's Yarborough estate in February 2001, as his co-accused kept look-out.
They wrongly suspected Mr Wilkins was a paedophile.
Prosecutor James Byatt told Hull Crown Court: "The police traced him to his home address. When he saw them he ran away out of the rear door and climbed over a fence.
"He went into another property where he was detained by neighbours until the police arrived. He told the police 'I did walk out because I wanted to see my family and friends'."
Lawson pleaded guilty to escape and has been sentenced to four months concurrent to his life sentence.
He had been due to have a parole hearing to discuss his release in January but this has now been withdrawn and he has been upgraded to a more secure prison.
His barrister, Colin Harvey, said: "He was just spending his time at home with his family who he had not seen for 10 years.
"He has already, to a degree, suffered punishment because he had a parole hearing and he has quite sensibly withdrawn it and that will effectively delay any hearing in the future. He will be in a secure prison inevitably for some time to come."
Judge Mark Bury said: "You could have received a much longer sentence, but the reality is, here is a serving prisoner serving a life sentence and the real punishment will come because you will not be able to secure any form of early release in the immediate future.
"You are likely to be remanded in prison for a longer period than you would have been if you had not escaped. You have brought this upon yourself and it is a far greater punishment than I can ever impose for this crime.
"Let there be no doubt escapes from prison are regarded as a serious matter by the courts."
Lawson set fire to his victim's home in February 2001.
Mr Wilkins had been terrorised and subjected to a hate campaign after he was cleared in November 2000 of indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl.
Lawson was said by the prosecution to have poured turps through the pensioner's letterbox, sealing Mr Wilkins' fate.
Mr Wilkins, pictured above, and his dog Lucky both died from smoke inhalation.
Several people living on the Yarborough estate at the time of the fire say Lawson spoke to them both before and after the fatal blaze claiming he was going to do it. He was also found guilty along with his former girlfriend, Chantelle Day, then 17, of Haven Gardens, of conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm to Mr Wilkins a week before his death.
A friend described how he had visited the rear of the Arundel Walk flat with the pair and had seen Lawson take out the glass in a window and climb inside, before the friend then left to go home.
Mr Wilkins made a police statement days before his death where he described how he had discovered two people in his flat, one of whom punched him while the other hit him with a stick.
When detectives searched Day's bedroom they discovered what the prosecution claimed was a "blueprint" of how she wanted to kill Mr Wilkins.
This included tying him up and setting fire to him and his flat.
A week after being attacked in his flat, Mr Wilkins was found dead in his smoke-filled flat by a neighbour.
Scientific tests confirmed turps had been poured through the letterbox of the ground-floor flat and set alight.
As smoke filled the property, Mr Wilkins had been unable to escape as all of his windows were boarded up and he was very intoxicated.
He was discovered lying in his kitchen, while his dog was in the hallway.
Lawson and Ian Lawless, of Conway Avenue, were both found guilty of murdering the pensioner.
Lawless was freed in 2009 after his conviction was quashed, branded "unreliable" by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).
He walked out of London's Court of Appeal and in an in-depth interview with the Telegraph, he said: "I thought there were two ways to handle this – either to curl up and take it, or fight back. I chose to fight back."