Violent drug dealer 'tries to hand himself in SEVEN times'

Violent drug dealer 'tries to hand himself in SEVEN times'

September 19, 2020

Violent drug dealer who absconded from an open prison ‘tries to hand himself in SEVEN times… but police won’t take him’

  • Akram Uddin, 27, absconded from Standford Hill on June 17 to see his mother
  • Uddin tried to hand himself in at Lewisham police station on seven occasions but was told there was no warrant out for his arrest
  • Scotland Yard disputed the visits and is conducting review to establish the facts

A violent drug dealer who absconded from an open prison tried to hand himself in seven times – but was repeatedly turned away, a court heard yesterday.

The case of Akram Uddin, 27, was described as a ‘shambles’ that was indicative of ‘a managed decay of the criminal justice system’ by his barrister, Liam Walker.

Uddin is said to have absconded from Standford Hill, an open prison on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, on June 17 to see how his mother was coping during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The court heard he contacted his solicitor 48 hours later and was advised to surrender to the authorities.

Akram Uddin, 27, is said to have absconded from Standford Hill (pictured), an open prison on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, on June 17 to see his mother

Between July 13 and August 13, Uddin tried to hand himself in at Lewisham police station in south-east London on seven occasions but was told there was no warrant out for his arrest, Maidstone Crown Court heard.

But Scotland Yard disputed the visits and said it was conducting a review to establish the facts.

A police spokesman said after the hearing: ‘If an individual attended a police station… their name would be put through the Police National Computer to confirm this.

‘Even if that person is not wanted, there would be a record of that name having been entered… From an initial review of our systems there is no record of an Akram Uddin having attended Lewisham police station.’

Eventually, plans were put in place for Uddin to be seen by appointment at Lewisham on August 19 – but he was arrested in a car at a service station in east London the day before, as a warrant had finally been issued.

Judge Charles Gratwicke sentenced Uddin to a further four months’ imprisonment, giving him credit for his guilty plea. 

He then ordered an immediate inquiry into how Uddin, who appeared in court via videolink from prison, first fled.

Uddin was convicted at the Old Bailey in October 2017 for trying to buy a pistol from an undercover police officer, and was sentenced to 93 months in prison.

While serving that term he was handed a further two years for violent disorder and drug offences in August last year.

Mr Walker told the court: ‘In the two decades I have been involved in the legal system, this case perhaps shows the managed decay of the criminal justice system.’

‘It is utterly astonishing that when he asked to be taken back into custody he was refused.’ 

Mr Walker added: ‘On one occasion during a visit to Lewisham police station he specifically asked to speak to a sergeant, but my client was told he was “too busy” to deal with him.’

As well as answers about why Uddin was not taken back to jail, the authorities will be asked to explain why he was moved to an open prison in March 2020 despite having been given the further sentence in August 2019 while he was still behind bars.

A Prison Service source said all procedures had been followed when Uddin had absconded, and that all prisoners are risk-assessed before they can be moved to open jails.

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