Serial rapist went on the run in East Yorkshire after walking out of open prison
A SERIAL rapist walked out of an open prison and went on the run in the East Riding.
Sean Cawthray, 41, was locked up indefinitely in 2002 after attempting to kidnap a 14-year-old girl at a bus stop. He had previously served two jail terms for rape.
Cawthray had been transferred to the open jail HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire for low-risk prisoners.
But walked out and went on the run, travelling to the East Riding to visit his mother.
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Despite a nationwide manhunt, Cawthray was only caught when he handed himself in at Bridlington Police Station.
He has now pleaded guilty to escaping.
Hull Crown Court heard Cawthray left the prison on December 30 last year and handed himself in on February 3.
Police admitted at the time the rapist was a "potential risk" and warned members of the public not to approach him.
Cawthray was jailed for four years in 1990 for rape and attempted rape, and for a second time for eight years in 1993, after a further rape conviction.
He was then given an indeterminate sentence at Leeds Crown Court in December 2002 for attempted kidnap.
He accosted his teenage victim in a bus shelter in the village of Kippax and dragged her by the hair into an alley as passers-by looked on.
The court heard the kidnap attempt was foiled by a seven-year-old boy, who was playing in a nearby garden and shouted to his grand- father upon hearing the teenager's stifled screams.
Judge James Spencer QC imposed an indeterminate sentence with a minimum recommendation of five years because of the "level of risk posed to young women".
Cawthray was told he would not be released until he deemed to no longer be a risk and would then be on licence for life.
His barrister Claire Holmes said: "He left the prison. He didn't meet anyone on the way out.
"The reason he left is because his biological mother had cancer two years ago and it had returned in an aggressive form. He had sent her a Christmas card but heard nothing back.
"He didn't know if it was because she'd had a dramatic decline in her physical condition.
"They had problems in their relationship and he wanted to set things right between them while he still had the opportunity."
Cawthray has been sentenced to a further 12 months imprisonment.
Judge Michael Mettyear told him: "You were serving a life sentence. You were getting impatient with what you thought was a lack of progress in your release and you escaped.
"It was an extremely serious thing to do because there were none of the necessary controls on you and there was some decent reason why you had not been granted release prior to that."
Cawthray will have to serve the rest of his sentence in a high-security prison.