Dangerous murderer who escaped jail is tracked down after 200-mile manhunt

A murderer who escaped from jail has been captured after a nation-wide manhunt.

Paul Gerrard, who was jailed for taking part in the murder of a vulnerable man with learning difficulties, broke out of HMP Kirkham, an open prison in Lancashire.

Cheshire Police said the 40-year-old convicted killer was captured by officers from Cheshire’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit yesterday (Tuesday, January 17) in Irvine in Scotland – more than 200 miles away from HMP Kirkham.

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Detective Chief Inspector Ian Murray, of Cheshire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: "Gerrard is a dangerous individual and I welcome the fact that the is now back behind bars where he belongs.

"I’d like to thank all of the officers involved in this manhunt for their dedication, going well beyond the boundaries of Cheshire to keep our communities safe."

Gerrard was 27 when he killed David Argent in 2009. Together with co-conspirator Gerrard Harper he lured Mr Argent to a flat in Runcorn, Cheshire in July 2008 and beat him unconscious.

The 29-year-old suffered broken bones in his face and brain damage, which forced him into a coma.

Mr Argent, who had suffered a campaign of intimidation in the time leading up to the vicious attack lost consciousness and was rushed to hospital.

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An operation was carried out to try to release the pressure on his brain caused by the build up of blood between his brain and his skull.

But Mr Argent, of Widnes, never woke up.

Speaking at the time of the trial, Detective Sergeant Ian Murray, of Cheshire police, said: “David Argent was the victim of a planned, premeditated attack, preceded by a sustained campaign of intimidation.

“Both men initially lied to the police to avoid culpability for their actions, then when confronted with the accounts of witnesses and irrefutable forensic evidence which placed the victim’s blood on their clothing and footwear, they attempted to blame each other for inflicting the fatal attack.

Both men had denied being at the scene until confronted with Mr Argent’s blood on their clothes. The pair were initially charged with GBH, but their charges were changed to murder when Mr Harper died.

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