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Killer who slaughtered mother's ex captured back on home street after fleeing prison

Stafford | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

A convicted Staffordshire killer who absconded from prison has been found back home in Stafford.

Andrew Craigie back in 2007

Andrew Craigie, 38, absconded from HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire – an open prison – yesterday morning but was found last night in Tixall Road, Stafford, where he previously lived.

Craigie was jailed for life in 2007 for the manslaughter of Geoffrey Watkins.

Mr Watkins, 61, the ex-partner of Craigie's mother, had his head virtually severed when Craigie set about him with two kitchen knives.

The pair had been drinking together on the night of the attack at Mr Watkins' home in Amblefield Way, Parkside, Stafford.

Craigie was originally charged with murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Stafford Crown Court, where Craigie's trial took place, heard the killer had 10 years previously tried to kill his mother the same way.

A more recent photo of Andrew Craigie, who absconded from prison

Craigie's mother and Mr Watkins met while Craigie was serving six years detention for the attack, which left her needing 50 stitches for neck wounds.

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They eventually moved in together and were for a time engaged, but in 2002, when Craigie was released from his detention and went to live with them, the couple split.

The court heard Craigie continued to visit Mr Watkins, and one such occasion was the night of the killing – June 28 2006.

Mr Watkins contacted family friends of the Craigies to ask them to pick Craigie up because he was drunk – but they refused.

At 10.45pm, Craigie rang them to say he had killed Mr Watkins – “cut his head off” – and they contacted the police.

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Craigie was described as having an 'unhealthy fascination with beheading', and an examination of his laptop found gruesome downloads of graphic images of human mutilation, beheadings, shootings and crash scenes.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “The Parole Board conducts a thorough risk assessment before recommending that someone serving an indeterminate sentence should be transferred to an open prison.

“However, public protection is our priority and the Prison Service retain the ability to recall an offender to a closed prison at the first sign of any concern. The Parole Board must also make a further decision before such an offender is released.”

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