Urgent manhunt launched after convicted murderer who brutally killed his girlfriend escapes prison

AN URGENT manhunt was underway today after a murderer who brutally killed his girlfriend vanished while on day release from prison. 

Convicted murderer Jason Mills, 49, failed to return to HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire on Wednesday night. 

He had been handed a temporary licence for the day by prison officials just hours earlier. 

But jail chiefs raised the alarm when he did not reappear to the open prison.

Mills was jailed for life in October 2001 for the murder of his girlfriend, 24-year-old Toni.

A court heard he had brutally assaulted her after a night of heavy drinking. 

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Mills, from Clacton, Essex, denied murder but was convicted after a trial. 

It later emerged he had 99 previous convictions including theft, fraud and firearms offences. 

Last night sources said procedures had been followed in a bid to find the murderer.

But it comes just six weeks after sex offender Paul Robson, 56, vanished from HMP North Sea Camp and spent four days on the run. 

A source said: "It raises major questions over open prisons once again."

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