GONE, PERHAPS FORGOTTEN? More than 100 serious offenders are currently evading recapture. What are the police & prison authorities doing about it ?
These men are wanted by the police. They are a few of the hundreds of fugitives who have escaped from British prisons or from police custody, or have jumped bail. There is, both in the number and character of such men, a cause for alarm. The prison service seems in crisis. Many escaped prisoners are free for years, many are highly dangerous. In January, three lifers broke out from Parkhurst top security prison. Last month, the head of the service, Derek Lewis, was sacked following an inquiry which described 'errors at every level and a naivety that defies belief'. Now there is talk of building Alacatraz-style jails for high-security prisoners. In this report, we examine the attitudes of the police and prison services, and what life is like on the run

James Hurley, 33, serving life for murder and GBH. Hurley was the getaway driver for a bank robbery in April 1988, in which an off-duty policeman was shot dead. Escaped on 16 February, 1994

Gary Johns, 30, serving life for murder. He stabbed a 29- year-old man through the heart after gatecrashing a nurse's party

Alan Byrne, 44, serving life for murder. Escaped from police custody on 11 October while on leave from Frankland prison, County Durham, to visit hospital for the treatment of cancer

Gary Sheehan, 32, seven years for GBH. His attack on Roger Blower, 46, in June 1991, left Blower with permanent brain damage. Escaped from outside Leicester Crown Court in February 1992

Andrew Mariou, 28, charged with attempted murder of policeman while on the run from a ten-year jail sentence in 1989 for robbery, aggravated burglary and handling stolen goods. Escaped 5 April, 1995

Isaac Marshall, 37, serving three-and-a-half years for causing death by reckless driving. He was nearly five times over the alcohol limit. Escaped on 26 January, 1994, by cutting through the prison's perimeter fence

Bashir Ahmed, 39, wanted for questioning over the murder, in 1981, of 31-year-old Tony Price at Woodhead Reservoir in Derbyshire. Incriminating evidence includes prints found on a blood-stained trunk

Michael Billings, 29, absconded on 6 November, 1992, while out on bail during his trial at Old Bailey. Sentenced to nine years, in his absence, for armed robbery and kidnapping a security guard

Keith Cottingham, 61, wanted for questioning by Maidstone police since May 1984 over a parcel bomb which killed Barbara Harrold of Ightham, Kent

"Anyone can stay 'out' in a big metropolitan city, provided they're prepared not to contact too many friends and not involve themselves in crime," says John McVicar, now an author and broadcaster, but in 1970 Britain's most wanted criminal. He was arrested in a flat above a clothes shop in Greenwich, 25 years ago tomorrow, after being on the run for two years from Durham's top security wing. Top, McVicar at the time of his escape, and, middle and above, how police imagined he would alter his appearance, with sideboards and a beard