Police launch manhunt to find rapist who fled prison while on day release

·2 min read
Convicted rapist Sean Phipps has gone missing after being on day release from prison. (Avon and Somerset Police)
Convicted rapist Sean Phipps has gone missing after being on day release from prison. (Avon and Somerset Police)

Police have launched an urgent manhunt to locate a rapist who failed to return to prison after being on day release.

Sean Phipps, 51, who has been convicted of rape and kidnap, went on the run last Wednesday after being given day release in Bristol.

He failed to return to HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire, sparking a police appeal to locate him.

Avon and Somerset Police have made a number of appeals to the public since his disappearance.

It published photos of Phipps on the day he was released in an effort to track him down.

The force urged anyone who see Phipps to contact them immediately, but not to approach him.

He remains missing as of Monday morning, police told Yahoo News UK.

It described Phipps as white and about 6ft 2in tall, and said he was wearing a black coat over a blue top, blue jeans and Timberland footwear at the time of his day release.

He was also wearing a black Casio watch, blue glasses and was carrying a vape pen.

The force said he was imprisoned after being convicted of kidnap and rape.

Phipps has previously gone by a number of surnames, police said, including Cawthray, Goldthorpe and Perry.

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Police are appealing for information about the whereabouts of a convicted rapist who fled prison while on day release. (Avon and Somerset Police)
Police are appealing for information about the whereabouts of a convicted rapist who fled prison while on day release. (Avon and Somerset Police)

Detective Inspector Dan Rowan said: “Sean Phipps travelled to Bristol city centre on Wednesday but failed to return to HMP Leyhill as required.

“At this time we are keeping an open mind as to where he is, but believe he could have travelled outside the force area.

"He’s known to have links with the Leicester and Leeds areas."

Anyone who see Phipps is asked to call 999 and give reference number 5222130002.

Anyone who knows where he may have travelled to can call 101 and quote the same reference number.

The force said: "Anyone who sees Phipps should not approach him, but instead call 999 and give the call-handler reference number 5222130002."

Leicestershire Live reported that Phipps was convicted of kidnapping a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Leeds in 2002. It said he had two previous convictions for rape.

It also reported that Phipps was arrested in 2017 after going on the run for two months from his probation-approved address in Leicester, having been released from prison on licence.

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