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Michael Sheridan walked out of an open prison in 1999 and fled to Ireland where he started a new life and had a family. More than 5,300 days since disappearing from an open prison, fugitive Michael Sheridan is back behind bars today. Sheridan was 24 when he simply walked out of an open prison in 1999 while serving an 18 month sentence for attempted burglary and was never caught. He moved to Ireland where he started a new life and had a family, the Newcastle Chronicle reports. Now 39, he has a 14-year-old daughter who knew nothing of his criminal past and attempted suicide when she found out the truth, a court heard. Despite getting in trouble for driving offences in 2007, 2010 and 2013, Irish police were unaware Sheridan was a wanted man in Britain. But his luck finally ran out earlier this year after he came back to England and moved in with his sister in Washington, near Sunderland. Police were called to a domestic incident and when they checked out Sheridan, they realised he had been a wanted man for 15 years. Now he is back behind bars after a judge jailed him for eight months for escaping. Recorder Murray, at Newcastle Crown Court, told Sheridan: "Trust was placed in you not to escape and you breached that trust and succumbed to temptation. I accept this was not a greatly planned escape, it was opportunistic. "Set against that, having taken that opportunity, you then kept clear of the authorities for nearly 15 years."
Sheridan was locked up for 18 months at Blackfriars Crown Court, in London, in July 1999, for attempted burglary. After serving around three-and-a-half months, he simply walked out of HMP Standford, in Kent, in October 1999.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court: "A head count was carried out on October 17 1999 and the defendant was not present. "He didn't come to the authorities attention for the period between that time and this year."
It all started to unravel for Sheridan on May 23 when police were called to an incident at his sister's home in Washington where he was living.
Mr Bunch said: "Details were taken and checks conducted by Northumbria Police officers on the Police National Computer revealed he was marked down as wanted by police for absconding in 1999 and as a result he was arrested. "He was interviewed and said he walked out of an open prison in 1999, returned to Ireland and accepted he had been unlawfully at large for the whole of the intervening period."
The court heard Sheridan has a previous conviction for robbery as well as the attempted burglary.
Jamie Adams, defending, said: "The sad thing about this is it's 15 years on now that he is having to answer for something he did way back when he was 24.
"One can understand why he might put it to the back of his mind when he was living a crime-free life in southern Ireland and having brought up a family of five children." Mr Adams said Sheridan had fled prison due to the tragic death of his brother. The barrister added: "He has a 14-year-old daughter who knew nothing of this and took an overdose when she heard about his arrest. "He has a sister in this area and he feels he has let everybody down by his past." Its widely rumoured that the clergy in Ireland helped Sheridan to start a new life
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