FRIDAY, JULY 6: An on-the-run prisoner with a history of violent crime has been spotted in three Bermuda parishes, police revealed today.
Shane Todd — serving 15 years for a drug-fuelled sex assault on a teenage girl and assaulting and terrorizing four women — failed to return to the Prison Farm from unescorted work release last Friday.
News of his disappearance was reported exclusively by the Bermuda Sun — five days after it happened.
Police public protection unit Chief Inspector Andy Morgan said with the weekend coming up, there will be more people out and about – and he urged extra vigilance and for any sightings of the missing man to be reported to police immediately.
CI Morgan added that Todd, 36, had been sighted in Paget — where he committed some of the offences he was locked up for in 2005 — as well as in Pembroke and Hamilton Parishes.
He said: “These sightings are from people who know Mr Todd — our active encouragement and message is, if he sighted at all to contact us immediately so we can bring this matter to a conclusion.”
Police suspect members of the public are helping Todd to evade recapture — and CI Morgan warned it is a criminal offence to harbour or help an escaped convict.
He added that it was hoped Todd, who also suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, would be recaptured as soon as possible so he can “receive the care and support he needs”.
CI Morgan said: “Despite Bermuda’s small size, our previous experience of dealing with prisoners of this nature is they are very difficult to locate and apprehend without the assistance of the community.”
But he confirmed that Todd’s previous history of drug addiction and “opportunities for these types of activities” were part of the police strategy for recapture.
And he appealed to the public: “More help is needed — if you have information or a sighting of Shane Todd call 295 0011 immediately.”
Machete-wielding Todd sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl and also assaulted the girl’s disabled aunt at their Paget home in June, 2004.
A Royal Gazette court report stated that he fled the scene and just an hour later, terrorized three elderly woman at a house in Warwick, breaking the back of one he threw downstairs and slashing the hand of another.
CI Morgan defended the decision not to issue a public appeal and warning until five days after Todd was reported missing.
He said that procedures for a joint prison service and police operation were put in place as soon as Todd was logged as absconding and that prisoners often returned voluntarily.
He added: “In view of that, a public appeal for information was made.”
CI Morgan added that people should continue to take normal crime prevention precautions in securing doors and windows while Todd was on the loose.
But he said islanders do not need to take special precautions, other than to exercise “heightened awareness” and to contact police immediately if he is seen.
He added that there was “nothing whatsoever” to suggest that Mr Todd’s failure to return to the Prison Farm is connected to the offences he was jailed for.
And he declined to comment on why Todd was categorised by the prison as ‘low risk’ and suitable for work programmes outside the prison.
CI Morgan said: “That’s a matter for the Department of Corrections. That is part of their rehabilitation process. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment.”