A TROWBRIDGE woman has been jailed after admitting to harbouring a”dangerous and prolific” offender whom she had helped abscond from prison.

Debra Kerr appeared in Salisbury Crown Court charged with the offence.

The court heard that on May 21, 2018, serving prisoner Tony Crowley, 35, was reported to have escaped lawful custody at HMP Sudbury, a Category D men’s prison in the village of Ashbourne in Derbyshire.

He was serving a life sentence for a series of robberies while in possession of a firearm.

The same day, Kerr travelled to the prison, collected Crowley, housed him at her address in Trowbridge and kept him from being recaptured and taken back to custody.

A Wiltshire Police spokeswoman said they were not in a relationship, but Kerr got to know Crowley through someone else she knew at the prison.

She lives in a modern house in Summerleaze on Trowbridge’s Studley Green housing estate. When the Wiltshire Times called, the lounge window curtains were drawn. There was a cat on the windowsill in an upstairs bedroom, but no-one at home.

While Crowley was living with her, Kerr’s behaviour caused those who knew her concern, and they tipped off the police.

On May 31, armed officers attended her address where they located Crowley and his partner in the living room.

Crowley was arrested for escaping from lawful custody and has since been returned back to custody.

Last Thursday, Kerr, 52, of Summerleaze, was sentenced to six months imprisonment at Salisbury Crown Court.

Det Sgt Rob Blake said: “Kerr’s actions were completely irresponsible and, as a result, put herself and the public in Wiltshire at serious risk. Crowley was serving a life sentence for armed robberies and is a dangerous and prolific offender who had the potential to cause harm to our community.

“Kerr went out of her way to hide Crowley and assist him in his attempts to escape prison and evade police. I am pleased that we have been able to put her before the courts and they have imprisoned her for her dangerous criminal behaviour.”