Akram Uddin, who had been serving time for firearms offenses, fled incarceration on June 17 in order to visit his mother.
Within weeks, though, he had made seven attempts to surrender to the authorities. However, the officers at Lewisham police station in southeast London turned him away every time, Uddin's lawyer, Liam Walker, told Maidstone Crown Court during a sentencing hearing on Friday, the Guardian reported.
It's “utterly astonishing” that an escaped prisoner, who is asking to be taken into custody, is being refused, Walker pointed out. He insisted that Uddin did everything in his power to be taken back, including informing his solicitor that he was going to surrender at a certain police station, arriving there with a packed bag in preparation for being taken in, and providing his full details to the officers.
"To badly paraphrase Oscar Wilde: to pass up the opportunity to arrest an escaped prisoner once may be regarded as misfortune, to pass up that opportunity seven times is an utter shambles."
The escapee's last visit to the station occurred on August 13, with him being told to come back in six days. But one day before that term expired, Uddin was finally arrested. He was handed a four-month sentence for absconding prison.
Walker insisted that this case – more than any other in his 20 years of legal practice – “illustrates the extent of the managed decay of the criminal justice system” in Britain.
The judge seemed to agree, as he ordered police to conduct a probe into Uddin's ordeal and inform the court of its findings within 28 days.
The police confirmed to The Guardian that they've already started the inquiry, however, they contested the claims of the man's legal team, saying: “There is no record of an Akram Uddin having attended Lewisham police station on dates between July 13 and August 13.”