Dedicated police team on case of rapist and kidnapper on the run

July 28 2022
Dedicated police team on case of rapist and kidnapper on the run

POLICE have set up a dedicated team to collate sightings of a rapist and kidnapper who absconded from Leyhill Open Prison two months ago.

Sean Phipps, 51, was released on temporary licence from the jail near Thornbury to visit Bristol on June 1.

He failed to return, and police believe he may still be in South Gloucestershire.

Police said Phipps has convictions for rape dating from 1989 and 1993, and kidnap from 2002, and in addition to being "capable of carrying out dangerous crimes", he is likely to steal food, clothes and bikes or use "false sob stories" to con people into helping him.

Detectives have warned anyone who sees him not to approach him but to call 999.

They have issued a custody photo but say he is known to change his appearance.

A police spokesperson said: "A dedicated team has been following up all reported sightings and co-ordinating with other police forces across the country.
"Phipps may still be in the greater Bristol area, including North Somerset or South Gloucestershire, but he's known to walk or hitch-hike over long distances and to steal bicycles for transport.
"Phipps does camp out in rural areas. He may approach people to ask for water or casual labouring work.

"Alternatively he may return to Bristol or urban centres to sleep in disused buildings or to search bins for food."

"Detectives are following up a number of sightings after previous appeals, but are also investigating the possibility that he may be using the South West Coast Path and could have reached Somerset, Devon, Dorset or Cornwall."
Phipps is about 6ft 2in tall and slim.

He is originally from Leicestershire and has been at large before, but police said he had "previously handed himself in when wanted".

People with information about his whereabouts can call 101 and quote the incident number 5222 130 002.

Information can also be given online at

Phipps is one of five prisoners known to have absconded from Leyhill since the beginning of May. The others have been recaptured.