Convicted murderer Mark Lee.
Convicted murderer Mark Lee.
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A MANHUNT is underway to find a murderer from Grantham who fled an open prison this week.

Mark Lee stabbed Neil McMillan through the heart with a nine-inch army bayonet outside a Grantham pub - the then Rose Castle pub, in Trent Road - in 1993.

Neil McMillan, murdered outside the Rose Castle pub in Trent Road, Grantham, in 1993.

Neil McMillan, murdered outside the Rose Castle pub in Trent Road, Grantham, in 1993.

Lee strolled out of HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire on Monday - two months before he was to be released.

Lee was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 1994 for killing the father-of-three, also from Grantham.

Despite his violent past, Lincolnshire Police sector inspector Phil Taylor has reassured Grantham people that Lee is low-risk and not deemed to be dangerous.

He said: “There’s some suggestion he could return to the Grantham area but local enquiries are being carried out with friends and relatives and we are satisfied that there’s no risk to the public.

“He isn’t thought to be a threat to people, however it is not advisable to approach him. If you see him, call us.”

A Prison Service spokesman told the Journal that prisoners held in open prisons like Sudbury have been rigorously risk assessed and categorised as being of low risk to the public.

He added: “On re-capture a prisoner will be returned to a closed prison and referred to the police, where they could face further charges.”

During Lee’s trial in December 1994, the jury heard how a brawl broke out in the pub after Mr McMillan and members of his family were taunted for being Scottish.

Lee formed part of a three-man gang involved in the fracas, which left two other men seriously injured.

Then aged 24 and living in Chambers Street, Lee pleaded not guilty to murder. Following his arrest, he told officers he had acted in self-defence.

The jury found him guilty and handed down a life sentence. An appeal was refused by the Court of Appeal in November 1995.

Lee, 42, is described as white, 6ft 1in tall, of proportionate build, with brown hair and blue eyes. Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.