15 murderers among 800 convicted criminals on run after breaking rules of early release

Authorities under pressure over day release of double killer arrested over pensioner's death

More than 800 convicted criminals including 15 murderers are on the run after breaking the rules of their early release from prison.

The numbers, released under a Freedom of Information request, reveal that 100 of those prisoners recalled at least 12 months ago had been jailed for violence or sexual offences.

Of the 821 reported missing, 11 were convicted of rape, 185 for drugs offences, 165 for fraud and forgery, and 97 for burglary, according to the statistics from the Ministry of Justice. Three were jailed for indecent acts on children.

The recalls date back to the mid-1980s and officials believe that about half of the absconders have gone abroad, while two are thought to have died.

More than half of those missing breached the terms of their parole by failing to stay in touch with a probation officer, while 33 faced further charges. More than 50 were ordered back to jail for breaking conditions on their electronic tags and another 98 for unspecified "poor behaviour".

The figures are not routinely released because of the quality of the police statistics based on "unverified police intelligence information", according to the Ministry of Justice.

The figures were released as the authorities were under pressure over the circumstances of the day-release of a double killer who was arrested early today in London over the murder of a pensioner. Ian John McLoughlin was arrested in London at 1am after being named by police as their prime suspect for the murder of Graham Buck who was fatally stabbed as he went to the aid of a neighbour during a robbery.

The authorities also appealed this week for help in tracing a convicted murderer, Craig Black, who was jailed for life 1995 and absconded from Leyhill open prison on Monday.