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Convicted murderer Paul Maxwell on run from police after escaping prison staff in Rochdale

Police have appealed for help from public after killer disappeared during day release trip to Manchester town

A convicted murderer has escaped from jail while on day release in Rochdale town centre, and is now the subject of a manhunt led by Manchester police.

Paul Maxwell, 49, was sentenced to life in prison in 1996 for the murder and robbery of 85-year-old Joe Smales in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Officers said Maxwell has links to both Rochdale and Tameside, Greater Manchester, and appealed to anyone who sees him or has information on his whereabouts to contact the police.

He is described as white, about 5ft 7in tall, of medium build with short brown hair and blue eyes. He wears glasses and was last seen wearing blue jeans, a grey fleece top and white training shoes.

Maxwell disappeared on Friday while accompanied by prison staff on a visit to the Manchester town. This morning officers confirmed that he remains on the run.

Inspector Niall Pawson of Greater Manchester Police said: "While we do not believe Paul Maxwell presents a significant threat to the public, he is unlawfully at large and he needs to be returned to prison.

"I would ask anyone with information about where he currently is, has been or could be heading to contact us in confidence."

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or 0161 856 4473 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.