Man fled custody and tried to take his own life after argument with prison cafe manager

PUBLISHED: 14:41 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:55 20 September 2019

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

A prisoner fled from custody and tried to take his own life following an argument with the manager of a prison cafe, a court has heard.

James Cox, 55, appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court via videolink having been charged with being a temporarily released prisoner unlawfully at large.

The court heard Cox had been a serving prisoner at HMP Norwich when on December 3 last year he was given leave to visit the NHS Walk-In Centre.

Emma Wright, prosecuting, said Cox did not return to prison and a search was carried out to find him.

Cox was eventually picked up by Thames Valley Police in London after the prisoner handed himself in on December 9.

When interviewed by police he said he had been subjected to verbal threats by the manager of the Britannia Cafe and had intended to kill himself.

He did not attend the doctors but got the bus to London.

Cox, of HMP Bullingdon, appeared via videolink on Friday (September 20) when he pleaded guilty to the charge.

Representing himself, Cox said he did not want to excuse what he did, but was suffering from mental health issues at the time.

He said he had taken two overdoses in the days he escaped from prison prior to handing himself in.

Cox said as a result of the offence he had another seven days added to his sentence.

He said he was now concentrating on preparing for his release.

Cox was sentenced to one day in custody for the offence which was deemed to have already been served.

As previously reported Cafe Britannia, which had a site beside HMP Norwich, announced last month the cafe was closing down with 50 jobs to go with it.

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