Fifteen years after escaping from Leyhill open prison in Gloucestershire in December 1998, Simon Hennessey has been recaptured in a Queensland resort, Australia. Originally imprisoned for the murder of his aunt, Hennessey was picked up in Australia for credit card fraud.
The fugitive killer had already served 20 years of a life sentence for the killing of 72 year old Mary Webber, whom he stabbed a total of seventy times, when he escaped. He had admitted to the murder and in 1978 pleaded diminished responsibility due to mental illness.
Mr Hennessey, now 49, reportedly escaped several prisons prior to his disappearance fifteen years ago. The police in Australia arrested him regarding a number of fraud offences which include credit card fraud believed to have amounted to tens of thousands of Australian dollars.
A spokeswoman for Queensland police confirmed that he had been arrested by the Sunshine Coast of Maroochydore and had appeared before a magistrates court on June 17th, adding “There is not much more we can say because of the court situation but we are aware that he is a wanted criminal in the UK”.
Avon and Somerset police are believed to have already contacted Australian authorities regarding Mr Hennessey’s extradition. The fugitive is believed to have originally given a false name to Australian police and claimed that he was from New Zealand, appearing in court on a few occasions using the false name until it was revealed that he was actually an escaped British killer.
Sunshine Coast Prosecutor, Daren Edwards, told Queensland Courier Mail: “He had not been seen or heard of until he was picked up. We knew there was more to him and it appears he has used several identities. We believe he has moved between Thailand, New Zealand and Australia”.