A Plymouth fugitive who has evaded capture for 15 years has finally been arrested in Australia.
British-born Simon Hennessey pleaded guilty to killing his aunt in 1978, on grounds that he was mentally unwell when he was 14-years-old.
Hennessey mutilated his aunt Mary Webber,72, in a brutal knife attack at her home in Plymouth, stabbing her 70 times. He was handed a life sentence but escaped from Leyhill Open Prison in Gloucestershire in 1998.
He was finally caught when police in Brisbane arrested him on the Sunshine Coast over credit card fraud.
According to the Plymouth Herald Hennessey had allegedly set up false companies to extract credit card details.
He is then said to have used a “skimming machine” to withdraw tens of thousands of dollars from victims' accounts.
Police in Queensland realised that the name Hennessey had given them belonged to an innocent man from New Zealand, the newspaper states.
“They investigated who their mystery prisoner was, and were stunned to discover it was Simon Hennessey.
”More investigations revealed that Hennessey had been allegedly living from the proceeds of frauds under false identities for years.“
The article also carries comments about Hennessey made by Daren Edwards, Sunshine Coast prosecuting chief, to the Courier-Mail in Queensland.
”He spent 20 years in jail and escaped in 1998. He had not been seen or heard of until he was picked up at Tewantin,“ Edwards is reported as saying.
”We knew there was more to him and it appears he has used several identities. We believe he has moved between Thailand, New Zealand and Australia,“ he added.
Detectives believe he has moved between Thailand, New Zealand and Queensland during his time on the run. A police spokesman said: “The Avon and Somerset Constabulary are aware of the situation and have been in contact with Queensland Police in Australia with a view to discussing an extradition.”
Hennessey appeared before Maroochydore Magistrates' Court on 17 June and is currently in custody pending his next hearing in July.