Murderers and rapists sent back to UK to serve sentences

Murderers and rapists are among 321 UK nationals convicted abroad but returned to English and Welsh prisons to serve the remainder of their sentences.

Convicted child sex offenders, fraudsters and a tobacco smuggler are also included in the list of those sent back from 37 countries around the world between January 2010 and December 2013.

Spain proved to be the destination where the most offenders returned from, with 83 prisoners who were convicted of a range of offences including attempted murder, grievous bodily harm, sexual assault and rape.

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Thirty-three UK citizens returned from Ireland, 28 from the USA, 17 from Cyprus, 15 from Thailand and 13 each from Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Germany and Japan.

The data shows six people given life sentences were sent back – four for murder from Australia, Germany, USA and Ireland, and two for drug offences from Laos and Vietnam.

The figures emerged during a period in which Justice Secretary Chris Grayling denied claims of an “overcrowding crisis” in England and Wales’ prisons and conceded the UK’s attempts to deport foreign criminals are proving “more stubborn and difficult” than expected.

Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright added 19,423 foreign national offenders were removed from the UK in the same period in a letter to Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan as he responded to a series of written parliamentary question on the prison system.

Mr Wright replied: “From January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2013, 321 UK citizens were returned from abroad to serve the remainder of their custodial sentence in prisons in England and Wales.”

He said information on the time an offender had left to serve upon their arrival in the UK was not held centrally and could only be obtained by making manual checks which would “incur disproportionate costs”.

Mr Wright also said: “I should also point out that during the same period, a total of 19,423 foreign national offenders were removed from the UK.”

In a cautionary note, Mr Wright said care had been taken when compiling the information on UK citizens returned to England and Wales.

However, he added the figures “may be subject to inaccuracies associated with any recording system”.