A convicted killer who went on the run after escaping from a secure psychiatric hospital was found by police after spending an afternoon drinking at a gay bar.

Phillip Westwater, who was dubbed the Black Dog Strangler, was arrested at The Bank in Newcastle late on Wednesday night after fellow revellers recognised his distinctive tattoos from a photograph.

The 44-year-old had spent 12 hours on the run, and was seen at the bar drinking with regulars while watching a draq show.

Penny Arcade, a drag artist who was performing on stage told the Mail: “He had been in there all night – he was chatting to one of the regulars who was buying him drinks.

“He was just sat drinking a pint, nothing unusual, which was why it was so unexpected.

“Ten or 12 policemen came in and went up to the smoking terrace. There was no scuffle, he was just led away.”

Responding to the incident, a police spokesman said:

“The missing man has been located safe and well in the Newcastle area. Officers will be taking him back to the secure unit at St Nicholas’s Hospital.

“A call was made by a member of the public who contacted police after recognising a photo of Phillip.”

Westwater was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act following a pub fight in 1989 in which he left a drinker paralysed for life after slashing him across the throat with a shard of glass in a pub fight.

The following year he strangled fellow patient Derek Williams at Ashworth Hospital, Liverpool, with his dressing gown cord. He admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, having become convinced his victim had turned into a black dog.

He married a nurse while he was a patient at Nottinghamshire’s high-security Rampton Hospital in 2008.