He escaped from jail because he was ‘fed up’ with the regime, before finding love and fathering two children during more than four years on the run.
But today, after settling into family life during his time out of jail, Matthew Dillon was back in prison.
In August 2009 Dillon walked out of Sudbury open prison, near Uttoxeter, while nearing his release date from a 10 years eight months jail term – and disappeared.
A few weeks ago police got a tip-off that Dillon, a convicted robber, was living at an address in Perton, near Wolverhampton.
He was living with a partner and two children, who had no idea he was a wanted man, Stafford Crown Court heard yesterday.
Dillon, of Sandown Drive, appeared before the court on his 34th birthday and admitted a charge of escape from lawful custody.
He was sent back to jail to finish his sentence, with a further six months to run consecutively. Recorder Mr Adam Feest told him: “It’s a great shame you chose to walk out, you would have been released fairly soon afterwards. You have since shown you can live a law-abiding life.”
Mr David Bennett, prosecuting, said police officers who arrested him asked Dillon why he had absconded from Sudbury and his reply was that he was ‘fed up’ with the prison’s regime.
He was also asked why he didn’t subsequently hand himself in.
“He said he wanted to, but he had met a partner, they’d had children together and he did not want to return to prison. His partner had no idea he had absconded from prison,” said Mr Bennett.
The court heard that Dillon was sentenced in September 2004 for the offence of conspiracy to rob and was due for release after serving two-thirds of the jail term.
Mr Darron Whitehead, defending, said Dillon was only 24 when he got into serious trouble for ‘a number of robberies’.
He served most of his sentence at Dovegate before being moved to Sudbury ahead of his scheduled release date.
“He couldn’t adjust to the new regime; he walked out and didn’t come back,” said Mr Whitehead. “The irony is that had he applied for parole he would probably have got it.
“He asked repeatedly to go back to Dovegate. He has turned his life around, he has a partner and two young children.
“He has remained out of trouble for four years – he would probably have carried on living a good life but for being detected.”
Mr Whitehead added that a consecutive prison sentence for the escape would bar Dillon from applying for parole.