Jail for fugitive crook arrested at Sunday League football match

A FUGITIVE convict who was arrested by armed police at half time during a Sunday League football match has been jailed.

Peter Cooling, who has 14 previous convictions for 32 different offences on his criminal record, escaped from Moorland Prison on

February 19 and managed to evade capture until October 11.

The 33-year-old prisoner, who was serving a 13-year prison sentence

for drug related offences, possessing a firearm and money laundering, was eventually found when police received a tip off that he would be taking part in a football match.

Today Leeds Crown Court heard that Cooling walked out of the open prison in Doncaster after being informed by police that they were investigating a threat to his life.

Michael Miller, defending, said: "On February 20 Mr Cooling was due to have his first town visit but on February 19 he was informed by police that they were investigating a threat to his life.

"His experience was that other inmates were taken in to closed conditions but he was told he wouldn't be. Fearing for his safety, he walked out of the prison and sought the security and safety of friends and family.

"He accepts that he could have acted in a different way and put pressure on prison services to move him to closed conditions."

Cooling was eventually arrested as he took part in a football match at East End Park in Leeds, on a Sunday morning.

Mr Miller added: "He was arrested playing football in the area in which he was brought up. He was arrested at half time and there was no suggestion that he tried to flee."

Sentencing Cooling, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said: "When you were not moved back to a secure prison you decided to walk out. The position is you were then at large for something just short of eight months.

"I accept that you committed no more offences during that time but although you had contact with your probation officer you clearly wanted to stay out of prison for as long as you could."

Cooling was sentenced to eight months in prison for escaping lawful custody, to be served consecutively to the 13 year sentence he originally fled from.