A prisoner had an illegal phone to chat to his young son - because he didn’t want the boy to think he had no father figure.

When Ishmale Hanson was caught with the phone by gaolers he was less than a week away from being released from HMP Springhill on licence.

Fearful he’d put his release in jeopardy, the 30-year-old walked out of the open prison in Grendon Underwood, Buckinghamshire, on April 5 last year.

He wasn’t arrested until more than a month later, on May 17, when he was caught behind the wheel of a grey Audi A3 on the M40 motorway near Bicester. Found on him was heroin and crack cocaine.

Since being arrested in Oxfordshire, the Black Country man had spent another eight months in custody having been recalled on an indeterminate sentence for public protection – or IPP – imposed in 2007 for robbery.

Oxford Crown Court heard this week that Hanson had obtained the mobile phone so he could video call his four year old son “He never had a father figure in his life when he was that old and he didn’t want his son to feel the same. He didn’t want his son to think he didn’t have a father figure,” his advocate said.

Sentencing on Thursday, Judge Maria Lamb said: “This is a rather sad situation, really. You, as you accept and have accepted from an early stage, knew you shouldn't have a phone in prison.

“I see the explanation you gave in your letter to the court and which I have read.

“You will also very well have known why it is that possession of a phone in prison has to be dealt with by the courts severely, because of the danger it represents potentially to staff and other inmates where those items can be used for purposes that are other than those to which you intended to use this phone, namely further criminal activity.

“What is perhaps even sadder is you were so near to having earned again your release from what had been licence imposed in respect of a substantial sentence properly imposed on you in 2007 which saw you serve 10 years before your eventual release in 2017.

“In what appears to have been something of a panic you left HMP Springhill on April 5, five days before you would have received your release in any event and remained at large for six weeks.”

Hanson, of no fixed address and appearing in court via video link from HMP Bullingdon, pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to possession of a prohibited article in prison, escape, possession of class A drugs and driving without a licence or insurance.

He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and given six penalty points on his driving licence. It will be six to eight months before he can apply to the Parole Board again for his release on licence.

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