A MAN jailed for shooting two brothers with an air gun in Colchester walked out of prison because he was being forced to look after drugs, a court has heard.

Jonathan Ewing, 44, had been close to his release date when he fled from prison on September 8.

He was in Hollesley Bay open prison, in Suffolk, after shooting the two brothers, aged 13 and 20, in Greenstead in 2007, when he went on the run.

Ipswich Crown Court heard following his recapture, in Avon Way, in Colchester, Ewing told police he had been facing threats and "difficulties" inside the jail after being asked by other inmates to look after drugs.

Ewing, who was caught on September 12, had pleaded guilty to escaping from custody and possession of cannabis when he appeared in court on Wednesday.

The also court heard when Ewing disappeared from Hollesley Bay he had with him what he believed was £2,000 worth of ‘spice’, a so-called legal high which replicates some of the effects of using cannabis.

But when police caught Ewing, he had disposed of it.

Ewing was sentenced to an additional six months imprisonment to run concurrent to his six-year sentence, for causing grievous bodily harm.

Sentencing Judge John Holt told the court: “He seems to have got into trouble of some sort with a drug dealer in the prison and decided to walk out rather than face that."

Ewing is the third inmate to have fled from Hollesley Bay prison in the last 16 months to have made claims about the availability of drugs within the site.