Lerone Boye

Lerone Boye, who escaped from the John Howard Centre last year. Photograph: Metropolitan Police

Over 200 people have absconded from a supposedly secure mental health hospital in Hackney over the last 13 years.

In the past four years there were 95 absconders from Homerton’s John Howard Centre – an increase from 68 absconders between 2004 and 2009 and 48 between 2001 and 2004.

These revelations, reported by BBC London, come following the escape of convicted killer Lerone Boye from the John Howard Centre last October.

Boye, who killed a 17-year-old Kelvin Chibueze in 2011, was on the run for three months before he was caught earlier this year.

The John Howard Centre is a medium secure centre that allows some patients leave for days out. If they do not return on time, this is recorded as an absconding, even though they may come back by choice eventually.

Dr Kevin Cleary, Medical Director of East London Foundation NHS Trust, said decisions to release patients for a day was made after “careful consideration and risk assessment” by clinical teams. It was also sometimes discussed with the Ministry of Justice, he added.

But Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity Sane, has warned that increased absconsion rates are related to pressures on mental health centres following cuts and closures of some hospitals.

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