A SEX offender who abused a child after injecting her with heroin escaped from an open prison because he was afraid of being beaten up by other inmates.

Paedophile Neon Collins walked out of HMP Leyhill, scared he was going to be beaten up again by other prisoners who had called him a ‘grass’.

Collins, previously known as Wayne Anthony Parkes, travelled to Redditch where he got drunk and met up with family but was arrested following a media appeal by police.

The 39-year-old appeared at Worcester Crown Court via videolink from HMP Hewell, a secure prison, on Monday to be sentenced.

He admitted a single count of escape after absconding from Leyhill, a category D open prison in Gloucestershire, on May 12 this year, leaving sometime before 8am.

At the time Collins was serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection with a minimum term of seven years for ‘sexual offences against children’.

Collins was known as Wayne Parkes and was the living at Fladbury Close, Redditch, when he was convicted of nine offences of sexual activity with a child, and one of child cruelty following a trial at Worcester Crown Court.

He was jailed for 14 years on June 16, 2011 by judge Toby Hooper for offences which took place between 2008 and 2010.

The cruelty charge involved him injecting the girl with heroin against her will to subdue her so he could have sex with her.

Simon Cooper, prosecuting Collins at the hearing on Monday, said a member of the public had found his prison ID card and contacted the prison.

It was then discovered that he had not attended an activity session at the prison.

“The prison were subsequently unable to locate him” said Mr Cooper.

Police then received a call saying that the wanted man was ‘drinking’ in Redditch and had fallen asleep on an area of grass. When police arrived he was described as ‘incoherent’.

Mr Cooper said: “He was at large for at least one day during the daytime hours.”

Collins had been due to attend a Parole Board hearing ‘when he was likely to be released’ having already completed the minimum seven year term.

“No violence was used. It was an open prison. He simply walked out” said Mr Cooper.

Joseph Keating, defending, said: “When he was in Leyhill he had been complying without any difficulties. Last year he was assaulted by two individuals and was quite badly beaten up because they thought he had grassed them up in relation to drugs.

“He was moved to a prison in Bristol. Again he was doing well, getting very good reports when, for some reason beyond his understanding, they moved him back to Leyhill in January this year.”

Mr Keating said his client was at this stage ‘a good candidate to be released’ and was coming up to the period where he would be eligible to make an application for parole. However, one of the men who had beaten him up was then returned to Leyhill and ‘started making threats again’.

Collins brought the threats to the attention of the probation service but was advised to ‘persevere’. However, the defendant felt a further six to seven months in the prison were ‘too much of a risk’.

“Despite knowing what the repercussions were in relation to his up and coming Parole Board hearing, he walked out” said Mr Keating.

He travelled from Gloucester to Birmingham and from Birmingham to Redditch, arriving at the town just after 3pm and had some alcoholic drinks with his nephew the court heard.

Judge Robert Juckes QC said: “Neon Collins, you have had the good sense to plead guilty. You have co-operated since your escape which, looked at from this end, looks like a particularly stupid thing to do. But I understand the fears preying upon you that caused you to do it.”

The judge said Collins was at large for around 12 hours and had made no effort to conceal himself from the authorities and that his previous behaviour inside the prison had been ‘exemplary’.

The judge jailed him for three months but said it was likely that, as a result of the escape, his time in custody would be significantly increased in any event.

Collins must also pay a £115 court charge.