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On-the-run prisoner now back behind bars.

Byline: ted davenport Reporter echo.newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

A FUGITIVE prisoner from Cardiff with eight different names is back behind bars after appearing in court accused of a series of assaults.

Darren Wilcox is already serving a seven-and-a-half-years sentence for the robbery of an elderly couple in 2010 but has twice been subject to police appeals to trace him.

The 38-year-old - who was part of a gang that took a couple's PS140,000 life savings - absconded from an open prison two years into his sentence and broke the conditions of his licence last year.

South Wales Police issued warnings to the public to stay away from him and to report any sightings on each occasion, most recently in November last year.

Wilcox assaulted three people in Axminster, East Devon, after being released on licence in 2015 and appeared at Exeter Crown Court under the name of Darren Roberts.

He pleaded guilty to assaults which caused actual bodily harm to a woman and two men when he appeared at Exeter Magistrates' Court last month.

All the assaults took place at Axminster on June 28, 2015.

His case was adjourned to next month by Recorder Mr Martin Meeke, QC, after he was told that Roberts has changed his legal team and had not had a chance to meet them.

The judge granted him technical bail, but he is currently back in custody after being recalled on licence. He is serving his sentence at Bridgend's Parc Prison. He told the judge he plans a conference with his new legal team next week and that his sentence is not due to expire until January 2021.

Wilcox, of Mynachdy, Cardiff, was jailed for seven and a half years in August 2011 for robbing carpet fitter Barry Davies and his partner Sheila John of their PS140,000 life savings.

Co defendant Ryan Edwards, now aged 33, of Garylydan, Ebbw Vale, was jailed for seven years.

Edwards' uncle, Dorian Edwards, 56, of the same address, admitted handling the stolen safe and was jailed for 14 months.

The couple kept the money in a safe in their modest home at Pembroke Dock because they did not trust banks but Wilcox and Edwards learned of the hoard and robbed them.

They tied up Ms John and stole the safe but were traced by Edwards' DNA on the cable ties they used. Wilcox was traced because of phone contact with Edwards.

The safe was virtually empty and the money had been spent.

Wilcox blew PS9,000 in a single day on high stakes slot machines.

Wilcox had served just over two years of his sentence when he absconded from Leyhill Open Prison in Gloucestershire. Police issued an appeal and warned the public not to approach him.

The search for him extended over much of South Wales and he was said to have links to Pontypridd and the Rhondda Valley.

He was said the use the names Wilcox, John Gypsy, Darren John, Andrew James Price, Jason Price, Darren Roberts, and Damon Wilcox.

A fresh appeal and warning was issued by South Wales Police in November 2017 when he was wanted for recall to prison.

He is likely to be sentenced for the Axminster offences when he returns to court next month.

CAPTION(S):

Darren Wilcox

HM Prison Leyhill, Gloucestershire IAIN FINDLAY

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 21, 2018
Words:551
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