A convicted murderer walked out of an open prison by "asking the prison guards nicely to open the gate" and went to stay with a friend, a court heard.
Police tracked down Kevin Williams at flats in Sheerness and instead of going back to Standford Hill Category D Prison in Eastchurch, he has been transferred to secure Category B/C Elmley Prison nearby with guards who are more strict and who won't open the gate just because "he asks nicely."
Maidstone Crown Court heard the 43-year-old - jailed for life at the Old Bailey in London in February 1997 - failed to attend a roll call at Standford Hill on Tuesday, September 17.
When arrested three days later, he claimed he absconded because he was sick of the decor in his cell and he had asked the prison manager to change it but he had refused telling him "this is not a hotel." He said he intended to return after he went to B&Q to get some Dulux paint to redecorate his cell.
Judge Charles Byers heard Williams, of Maidstone, Kent, was cooperative and not a danger to the public.
Passing a concurrent sentence of 12 months for escape, the judge told him in a TV link with Elmley: "I appreciate you have pleaded guilty and you have been sensible. The worst punishment you will receive really is it may affect your release date, which is stupid.
"Since it is in my best judgement that you seem like a nice guy I have spoken with the manager of the new prison I am sending you to and he is going to decorate your cell just how you want it, in fact I just got off the phone with him and he wants you to go to B&Q with him this Friday to choose the paint.
The Judge continued: "Oh and don't worry about the bill for the paint, the taxpayer will take care of that!"