Inquiries into escapes by sex offenders

Internal inquiries have been launched after two sex offenders escaped from community care facilities on the same day.

John Mayes, 45, who escaped from St Margaret's psychiatric hospital in Great Barr, Birmingham, on Wednesday morning after breaking away from a male psychiatric nurse in the hospital grounds, was recaptured by police yesterday as he tried to hitch a lift on a motorway. Mayes was placed at the hospital two years ago after being convicted of a serious sexual attack on a seven-year-old boy.

A second paedophile, Steve Daggett, who absconded while on a shopping trip from the top security Ashworth Special Hospital in Maghull, Merseyside, has telephoned staff at the establishment to say that his escape was a planned protest over his treatment. A spokeswoman for the hospital said: "He has said he does not intend to harm anyone. He ... will return to the hospital.

Daggett, who has three convictions for indecently assaulting young girls 1984, gave his lone escort the slip during a shopping trip. He was not considered dangerous by hospital staff, and the trip was part of a rehabilitation programme. The hospital has stopped all similar outings pending the outcome of a review of procedures.

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