Facebook Fugitive Arrested And Facing Porridge

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

An escaped prisoner who used Facebook to taunt British police over the Christmas period has been arrested

The long arm of the law has caught up with Craig “Lazie” Lynch and his infamous middle finger, after nearly four months on the run.

28 year old Lynch was finishing a seven-year sentence for aggravated burglary when he absconded from the 330-inmate Hollesley Bay open prison near Woodbridge, Suffolk, on 23 September.

Lynch first began to attract publicity just before Christmas when he began using Facebook to taunt the British police over their inability to catch him. He boasted of living the high life by eating steaks and driving like an idiot on icy roads.

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He also posted pictures of himself in various situations, typically making a one finger salute to the camera. This included a picture of him wearing tinsel and cooking a Christmas turkey while swearing at the camera. He continued to taunt the police after Christmas.

Lynch’s Facebook homepage attracted more than 40,000 ‘friends’ before administrators closed it down two weeks ago. As his fame spread, t-shirts and musical YouTube tributes were apparently made in his honour.

Despite the closing of his homepage, Lynch returned to Facebook under the name “Maximus Justice”, in which he boasted “Guess who’s back?”. This new homepage is thought to currently have 182 friends.

“I got a fantastic video, me watchin the London firework display surrounded by thousands of incompetent pigs. I’m even recorded asking police for directions. Let’s get this show back on the road,” Lynch boasted.

However it seems that the police were not sitting on their laurels and Lynch was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in Kent on Tuesday night. He appeared at Bexleyheath Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday morning charged with escaping from lawful custody.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “A Hollesley Bay prisoner who absconded on Wednesday 23 September, is back in custody. Craig Lynch, 28, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Service in Kent last night, Tuesday 12th January.”

It appears that Lynch’s recapture had nothing to do with information he revealed on his Facebook page, but was down to old fashioned police work. However, his public boasting and sharing, is possibly the biggest public evidence for Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s assertion that people now share without thinking.

“People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people,” said Zuckerberg. The case of Lynch shows that this now includes fugitives sharing with those tracking them down.