Killers and rapists are among the 774 lags escaped from prison in just six years

Scores of killers and rapists are among the 774 lags who have fled Britain’s open prisons in the past six years.

Twenty-eight were serving life for murder, 10 were doing time for manslaughter and 18 were in jail for rape, startling Ministry of Justice figures reveal.

In many cases they simply failed to return after being let out to work. The escapees are classified as having “absconded” as they did not have to overcome a physical restraint.

Fifty-seven scarpered by giving escorts the slip during a transfer.

Top of the list is HMP Kirkham, near Blackpool, Lancs, where murderer Thomas Parkinson, 32, vanished while serving the final two years of a life sentence.

He was caught in a McDonald’s after three weeks.

Drugs lag Steven Flynn, 33, used the prison phone to arrange his escape from Kirkham, but handed himself in three months later.

Murderer Darren Jackson got away from HMP Sudbury, Derbys, in 2016. It was his second getaway.

Escapees also include Michael “Skullcracker” Wheatley, 59, who in 2014 robbed a building society after fleeing HMP Standford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.

The Prison Service said “absconds” had halved in 10 years.

A spokesman said: “Those who do so face tough consequences.”

Worst jails for absconds
1 Kirkham, Lancs, 135; 2 Sudbury, Derbys, 124; 3 Ford, West Sussex, 70; 4 Thorn Cross, Cheshire, 69; 5 Grendon/Spring Hill, Bucks, 62; 6 Leyhill, Gloucs, 61; 7 Hollesley Bay, Suffolk, 45; 8 Standford Hill, Kent, 45; 9 Hatfield, South Yorks, 42; 10 North Sea Camp, Lincs, 40.