Convicted killer and rapist arrested after going on the run from mental health centre in east London

 

A convicted killer and rapist who absconded from a mental health centre has been arrested, police said.

Officers launched a manhunt after Samuel Lee, 44, failed to return from an authorised trip from the John Howard Centre, Kenworthy Road, Hackney, east London, last Thursday afternoon.

But he was found in the Sussex seaside town of Eastbourne this evening.

Lee is serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2006 of snatching a 31-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer in Finsbury Park, north London and raping her during a terrifying hour-long attack in 2000.

Just a decade earlier, in 1989, he was jailed for manslaughter for stabbing a man to death.

Police thanked the public and press for their help in trying to track down Lee, who officers had described as "violent".

Lee's escape came after a string of dangerous convicts absconded from open prisons while on day release in recent weeks.

Violent armed robber Michael Wheatley, dubbed the "skullcracker", was jailed for life last week for raiding a Surrey building society while on the run from an open prison.

And convicted murderer Arnold Pickering, 44, has been charged with absconding from HMP Kennett after visiting Liverpool on licence earlier this month.

The escapes sparked a political row and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has vowed to tighten rules surrounding prisoners' trips out from open prisons.

PA

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