Murderer who failed to return to prison is captured by police after two days on the run

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A KILLER who stabbed a blind man to death has been arrested in Oldham after going on the run from prison.

Arnold Pickering was arrested for being unlawfully at large at an address in Oldham, police said.

The 44-year-old, who was jailed for life in 1991 for killing a man he wrongly thought to be a paedophile, failed to return to HMP Kennet in Merseyside after leaving the Category C jail on day release on Saturday.

Merseyside Police said he was arrested by officers from Greater Manchester Police and was last night in custody.

Another inmate, swastika-tattooed Thomas Moffett, 51, who is serving an indeterminate sentence for a number of robberies, also failed to return from day release on Saturday but was arrested last night for being unlawfully at large.

The disappearance of the two men came just two weeks after notorious armed robber Michael Wheatley - known as Skullcracker - absconded from Standford Hill open prison on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, while on temporary release.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling described the case as unacceptable and said the Government would speed up a planned tightening of the rules around temporary licences.

Pickering, who stabbed 53-year-old Thomas Leigh to death in Oldham in 1990, was sentenced for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 18 years.

He last absconded in December 2009 when he was let out on day release from HMP Kirkham to work on the bins in Manchester city centre and handed himself in four days later in Scotland. He had also escaped from Strangeways in Manchester on a previous occasion.

Pickering, from Chadderton, Greater Manchester, had been risk assessed as suitable for temporary release on licence by the Ministry of Justice, Merseyside Police said.