Two rapists go on the run are forcing prison door

Manhunt is underway after two convicted rapists go on the run having forced open prison door in the middle of the night

  • Pair are both serving open-ended sentences for rape and other crimes
  • They forced a door at open prison Leyhill last night and have gone on the run
  • Police urge public not to approach them, but call 999 if they are spotted 

A double manhunt has been launched after two rapists forced a door at a prison and went on the run.

John-Paul Knowlson and Stuart O’Neill broke out of HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire in the early hours of this morning and have not been seen since.

Police are urging the public not to approach either man, but to call 999 if they see them.

Rapists John-Paul Knowlson (left) and Stuart O’Neill (right) have gone on the run from prison

Knowlson, 30, from Bristol was convicted of rape in 2011. He is described as white, 5ft 5ins and speaks with a West Country accent.

He has a cross tattoo on his right arm and was last seen he was wearing a red tracksuit top.

O’Neill, who is 29 and from the Lancashire, was convicted of rape, burglary and theft in 2009 and was transferred to HMP Leyhill in October last year.

He was jailed for attacking a drunk 17-year-old girl as she walked home from a party in Manchester. He dragged her into bushes, put his hands over her mouth and raped her.

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Both men were serving indeterminate sentences, meaning they would only have been released if a parole board believed they are no longer dangerous.

He has a beard, speaks with a Mancunian accent and has a tattoo with the name O’Neill on the base of his neck.

Earlier this month, another sex offender, Steven Chamberlain, went missing from the minimum-security jail, but was later caught by police.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: ‘If anyone sees O’Neill or Knowlson or knows of their whereabouts, we’d ask you not to approach them but to call us immediately on 999, providing the call handler with the reference 5218193274.’

The pair forced a door at open prison HMP Leyhill around 2am last night and are being hunted


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