Police hunting two convicted rapists who absconded from Gloucestershire open prison

John-Paul Knowlson, 30 (left) and Stuart O’Neill, 29, absconded from an open prison in South Gloucestershire. (PA)

Police are hunting two convicted rapists who have absconded from an open prison.

John-Paul Knowlson, 30, and Stuart O’Neill, 29, left HMP Leyhill in South Gloucestershire at about 2am on Wednesday after forcing a door.

Avon and Somerset Police said both prisoners are serving indeterminate sentences.

Knowlson, who is from Bristol, was transferred to HMP Leyhill in September last year. He was convicted of rape at Bristol Crown Court in 2011.


Police officers attacked in McDonald’s by ‘hostile crowd’ as they pin down suspect
North Korea warns the US that talks over denuclearisation could ‘fall apart’
Scotland’s coastal litter problem unveiled in new photos
Is this the UK’s priciest pint? London pub starts selling beer for £22.50
Watch: Scallop wars break out in English Channel as French fishermen attack British boats

Police said he is white, 5ft 5in and of medium build, with brown eyes, and speaks with a West Country accent. He has a cross tattoo on his right arm. When last seen he was wearing a red tracksuit top.

O’Neill, who is from the Lancashire area, has strong links to Manchester.

He was convicted of rape, burglary and theft offencesat Manchester Crown Court in 2009 and was transferred to HMP Leyhill in October last year.

Police said he is white, 6ft 1in and of medium build, with blue eyes and has a beard. He speaks with a Mancunian accent and has a tattoo with the name O’Neill on the base of his neck.

A force spokesman said: ‘If anyone sees O’Neill or Knowlson or knows of their whereabouts, we’d ask you not to approach them but to call us immediately on 999.’