Prison absconder tracked down after 16 years on the run

Spencer White pictured (left) in 1999 and 16 years later in 2015 (right)
Spencer White pictured (left) in 1999 and 16 years later in 2015 (right)

A KIDNAPPER who walked out of an open prison has been found 16 years later in the Canary Islands.

Spencer White, now 39, from The Witterings, near Chichester, absconded from Ford Open Prison in July, 1999, after being sentenced to three years for kidnapping an adult.

“Spencer White has been a priority to locate from the moment he absconded, but he evaded immediate capture and disappeared off of our radar,” said PC Lewis Dines, from the team that leads the investigations into all absconders from HMP Ford.

“Within the last year we received information about his possible location and based on this, we were able to secure a European arrest warrant (EAW) so that he could be arrested if found outside of the UK.

“I am delighted that after 16 years of evading authorities, he has been recaptured and returned to prison to serve out not only remainder of his original sentence, but an additional term as well.

“His capture and additional sentence send a message that we will not give up seeking absconders and when we put them back in front of the court they can expect further punishment.”

White was stopped by police as he arrived at Lanzarote airport on September 19 and detained after being recognised as wanted on a EAW.

Sussex Police said it was believed he had been living in southern Ireland and was ‘apparently intending to take a short holiday on the island’.

He was extradited back to the UK on October 1 where he was charged with escaping lawful custody and appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court the following day.

He was remanded in custody to appear at Chichester Crown Court on October 23 where he pleaded guilty, receiving an additional 16 months in prison, which will be served on top of the two years and four months remaining on his original sentence.

“He has not been returned to HMP Ford,” police added at the end of a statement released today (November 10).

Anyone with any information about an absconder from HMP Ford can contact 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101 quoting Sussex reference Operation Parcel.

Alternatively, contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.