Violent parole jumpers on the loose

Violent parole jumpers on the loose

3 News has discovered one parole jumper has been on the run for almost a decade, but authorities won't say who it is.

At end of last month, 17 parolees were AWOL after being recalled to prison and most of them have convictions for violent offending.

Convicted murderer Christopher Thomas was one of those 17. He shot a man in the back of the head at point blank range. He was paroled in March, but went AWOL - eventually handing himself in to police a fortnight ago.

But 3 News has discovered that 16 others are still on the run.

"One is too many - what if he is living next door?" asks victim advocate Ruth Money.

3 News would like to tell you exactly who these offenders are but the Parole Board won't tell us; it says that could impact police efforts to locate them.

So here's what we know: eight have convictions for violence, five for drugs, one is a sex offender, another is guilty of perverting the course of justice and the last one is a burglar.

"We have a right to know who is loose in our community," says Ms Money.

Just last month a parolee subject to an arrest warrant and recall to prison was at centre of a massive manhunt after police were allegedly shot at.

The Parole Board says numbers on the wanted list are just a fraction of offenders on parole or subject to arrest warrants at any one time

"If you know your offender is on the run would you just pop down to the supermarket, would you want to go for a walk? It's horrific," says Ms Money.

Of those on the run at end of August, eight were recalled to prison sometime this year, seven in previous years, and one person - a violent offender - has been on the run since July 2006. 

That's nine years evading the police, who now say it's highly likely that person managed to skip the country.

In a statement, police say they take all reasonable and appropriate steps to locate recalled prisoners and that these cases are given high priority and alerts put in place.

They say in most cases the offenders are located quickly.

3 News