Four remanded over prison van plot

Jermaine-BakerFour men allegedly involved in a plot to spring two convicts from a prison van, which saw a man shot dead by police, have appeared in court.

Jermaine Baker, 28, from Tottenham in north London, died from a single gunshot wound after an intelligence led operation carried out by the Met’s Organised Crime Command and Specialist Firearms Operational Command Unit on December 11, last year.

Nathan Mason, Gokay Sogucakli, Ozcan Eren and Eren Hasyer were arrested following the police operation near Wood Green Crown Court.

They all appeared at Woolwich Crown Court via video link from HMP Belmarsh, wearing tracksuits apart from Eren who was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. The youngest of the men, 18-year-old Sogucakli clutched what appeared to be prayer beads.

Eren, 31, of Douglas Road, Wood Green, and Hasyer, 25, of Kettering Road, Enfield, are charged with conspiracy to aid the escape of the two prisoners.

Mason, 30, of Vicarage Road, Tottenham, and Sogucakli, of the Roundway, Tottenham, face the same charge, as well as possessing an imitation firearm and using a motor vehicle taken without the owner’s consent.

All four are due to next appear at Woolwich Crown Court on February 29 for a plea hearing.

Representatives of the men indicated they would be contesting the case.

Two men, Izzet Eren, 32, and Erwin Amoyaw-Gyamfi, 29, were later jailed for 14 years each at the court for firearms and driving offences.

Following the shooting, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched a criminal homicide investigation into the death. This could see police face murder or manslaughter charges.

A firearms officer was suspended by the Met following a suggestion by the IPCC.

Prison worker caught up in escape fantasy

joyce-mitchell-prison-escapeA prison worker who got “caught up in the fantasy” of escape has told investigators her relationship with the two inmates included sex acts and naked photos.

Joyce Mitchell, an instructor in the tailor shop at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to helping inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat escape in June.

In documents, Mitchell said once when she was alone with Matt he grabbed her and kissed her.

She admitted performing a sex act with him and fondling him. She took naked photos of herself for Sweat.

Matt was shot and killed by searchers on June 26. Sweat was captured and sent to another prison.

Mitchell faces between two years and four months to seven years in prison under a plea deal.

Her sentencing is set for September 28.

Dovegate escapee recaptured

Haroon Ahmed
Haroon Ahmed

A violent criminal who escaped from prison before reportedly fleeing to Spain has been arrested.

Haroon Ahmed has been on the run since fleeing from HMP Dovegate, near Marchington, Staffordshire, on Wednesday afternoon.

Claims emerged over the weekend that the 26-year-old had fled to Marbella on the Costa del Sol.

He reportedly said he escaped jail as he “wanted to test out the security,” adding: “I thought, I’ll give it a go – and walked out of the door. That’s how easy it was. I just kept on walking.”

A statement from Staffordshire Police issued today said: “Haroon Ahmed, who is from the Derby area, was arrested this morning in the Nottingham area and has been taken into custody.

A spokeswoman said his whereabouts while on the run will form part of the police investigation.

The force previously said they were investigating “all lines of inquiry” and they could not confirm or deny whether he had travelled to Spain.

Ahmed, who was serving a sentence for robbery, told the Sunday Mirror that he was worried for his safety if he returns to the UK and claimed his family was being harassed because of his escape.

He had been missing since around 4.15pm on Wednesday, Staffordshire Police said.

Staffordshire Police thanked members of the public for their help sharing appeals to find Ahmed.

It added: “Our social media posts have reached just under 300,000 people in total.”

Hunt for violent escaped Category B prisoner

Haroon Ahmed
Haroon Ahmed

Police are hunting for a prisoner convicted of a violent robbery who has escaped.

Haroon Ahmed, 26, from the Derby area, escaped from HMP Dovegate, near Marchington, Staffordshire, at around 4.15pm on Wednesday, Staffordshire Police said.

Due to his violent conviction police advise members of the public not to approach him but to instead ring 999.

He is described as Asian, 6ft tall with a thin build and short black hair in a crew cut.

He was wearing jeans and a grey t-shirt but police say it is likely he has changed his clothing.

The force suspect Ahmed is in the Derby area where he has numerous connections.

Officers involved in the search for him arrested his brother, Majeed Ahmed, 25, of Clarence Road, Derby, on Thursday, and have charged him with assisting a prisoner in escaping from prison.

He has been released on bail to appear before magistrates in Burton on June 25.

A black Volkswagen Golf was also recovered as part of the investigation and has been subject to a detailed forensic examination.

HMP Dovegate
HMP Dovegate

opened in 2001, Serco manage HMP Dovegate on a 25 year contract as a category B prison holding over 1060 male adult prisoners over the age of 21 all serving a range of sentences including trial, remand, awaiting sentence and convicted men serving over four years to life.

Dovegate, in Staffordshire, provides education – literacy, numeracy, IT and vocational skills – healthcare, industrial work opportunities, drug and alcohol counselling, accredited and non-accredited offender behaviour courses aimed at reducing criminogenic risk and thereby aiding release and resettlement of offenders

The prison also includes a separate 200-bed Therapeutic Community for repeat serious offenders. The unit, the only privately-run one in the UK and the only purpose-built therapeutic facility, offers its residents daily group therapy, which lasts between 18 months and 24 months.

In September 2009 the prison expanded by nearly a third to accommodate a further 260 prisoners with a new activity building, training rooms, workshops, and housing units, resulting in the current 1060 average prisoner population.

Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook said the escape could cost the private prisons company hundreds of thousands of pounds in contractual fines.

Mr Leech said: “This is a very serious escape from a Category B prison – our second highest level of prison security,

“Serco who manage the prison will now face fines that could run to hundreds of thousands of pounds for their failure to prevent the escape and it could seriously effect any future contract bids they choose to make.”


Manhunt after prison officer stabbed and inmate escapes

Derek Brockwell
Derek Brockwell

A manhunt is under way for a notorious prisoner after he allegedly stabbed two prison officers and fled from a hospital in Ireland.

Derek Brockwell, 53, was being taken to Tallaght Hospital in south Dublin from high security Portlaoise Prison for a medical appointment when he made his reportedly violent escape.

One of the prison officers accompanying him was stabbed with a knife in the stomach and is undergoing emergency surgery for his serious injuries, according to a spokesman for the Irish Prison Service.

Another officer was stabbed in the hand and possibly the face or neck during the incident at around 3pm.

A third prison officer was unharmed but left badly shaken.

It is believed Brockwell, a British national who was handed 22 life sentences in the UK for armed robbery and had appeared as a wanted man on BBC’s Crimewatch show, was picked up by an awaiting accomplice on a motorbike or in a car which sped away from the scene.

The serial criminal was two years into a seven-year sentence for armed robbery after he admitted holding up the Bank of Ireland in Blackrock, south Dublin, in October 2012.

He was also convicted of robbing a post office and a bookmakers as well as for firearms offences in the Irish capital.

Brockwell landed in Ireland after failing to return to Kirkham Prison in England, where he was serving life for a series of offences but had been allowed out on day release for a work scheme.

He had carried out armed robberies on betting shops in London’s Marylebone and Paddington areas during September and October 1999.

Described as being 6ft 3in with brown hair and a broad build, it is believed he has links with London, Glasgow and Ireland.

Gardai have launched a city-wide manhunt and said they were “anxious” to locate the prisoner.

A spokeman for the Irish Prison Service said: “A full investigation has commenced into the circumstances of this escape and the Director General of the Irish Prison Service has said that our thoughts are with our staff who have been injured in this serious incident.”

Later, Jim Mitchell, deputy general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association, said he was deeply concerned by the incident.

“It is vitally important that the Irish Prison Service thoroughly investigate this incident and establish how such a serious assault could have occurred,” he said.

“It is very evident that prisoners, who are known to be dangerous and pose a serious risk, must be accompanied by appropriate levels of security when being escorted outside the prison environment.

“This, and indeed other incidents where our colleagues have been injured in recent years, raises many serious questions which must be tackled by prison management.”

Mr Mitchell said the association’s thoughts were with the injured prison officers.

Killer, Rapist & Arsonist among 77 who have never recaptured


A killer, a rapist on a life sentence and an arsonist who may never be released from prison are among the 77 prisoners who have escaped in the last ten years without being recaptured, it has been revealed.

International drugs traffickers and firearms owners sentenced to life are also among the absconded prisoners who escaped between April 2004 and March 2014 and remain unlawfully at large, the Ministry of Justice data showed.

Justice Minister Simon Hughes, who released the list, said the number of escapes has reduced by 80% over the last ten years.

Mr Hughes said he was unable to release the names of the escaped prisoners without first performing checks to make sure that disclosure would not place anyone in danger and to ensure that any victim has already been informed of both the abscond and release of the name.

He said checks also needed to be carried out to make sure releasing names would not jeopardise police recapture operations.

Among the most serious offenders on the list are a rapist on a life sentence, an arsonist with an indeterminate sentence for public protection (ISPP), an offender jailed on an ISPP for possessing a firearm with intent, and an offender jailed for five years for manslaughter.

There were also four offenders who had sentences lasting at least a decade for import and export of drugs.

The list also includes a robber on an ISPP and a robber on a life sentence.

Mr Hughes released the data in response to a written parliamentary question from Tory Philip Davies (Shipley).

The list released is shown below:

:: Index offence and sentence length of absconders unlawfully at large from April 2004 to March 2014, as at 30 September 2014:

:: Aggravated burglary – 4 years 6 months

:: Arson – Indeterminate sentence for public protection

:: Assisting illegal immigrants – 54 months

:: Assisting illegal immigrants – 6 years

:: Blackmail – 3 years

:: Burglary – 18 months

:: Burglary – 6 months

:: Burglary – 112 days

:: Burglary – 3 years

:: Burglary – 32 months

:: Burglary – 2 years 6 months

:: Conspiracy to commit burglary – 3 years 3 months

:: Conspiracy to commit burglary – 64 months

:: Conspiracy to commit theft – 3 years 6 months

:: Conspiracy to commit theft – 3 years

:: Conspiracy to commit theft – 2 years

:: Conspiracy to defraud – 7 years

:: Conspiracy to defraud – 6 years

:: Conspiracy to import drugs – 8 years

:: Conspiracy to supply drug – 40 months

:: Conspiracy to supply drugs – 6 years

:: Contempt of court – 15 months

:: Customs evasion (drugs related) – 7 years

:: Customs evasion (drugs related) – 8 years

:: Death by reckless driving – 4 years

:: Deception – 30 months

:: Deception – 9 months

:: Deception – 26 months

:: Deception – 12 – months

:: Deception – 30 months

:: Excess alcohol – 112 days

:: False instruments – 6 months

:: False instruments – 12 months

:: False instruments – 18 months

:: Fines – 6 months

:: Fraud – 5 years

:: Fraud – detainee

:: GBH – 2 years

:: GBH – 8 years

:: Going equipped to cheat – 2 years

:: Going equipped to cheat – 2 years

:: Going equipped to steal – 6 months

:: Import/export drug – 19 years

:: Import/export drug – 9 years

:: Import/export drug – 12 years

:: Import/export drug – 7 years

:: Import/export drug – 12 years

:: Import/export drug – 10 years

:: Import/export drug – 5 years

:: Manslaughter – 5 years

:: Possess drugs with intent – 6 years

:: Possess drugs with intent – 3 years 6 months

:: Possess drugs with intent – 6 years

:: Possess drugs with intent – 7 years

:: Possess drugs with intent – 3 years

:: Possess firearm with intent – 78 months

:: Possess firearm with intent – Life

:: Possess firearm with intent – Life

:: Possess firearm with intent – Indeterminate sentence for public protection

:: Possess offensive weapon – 23 months

:: Possess offensive weapon – 5 years

:: Rape – Life

:: Robbery – Life

:: Robbery – Indeterminate sentence for public protection

:: Robbery – 6 years

:: Robbery – 9 years

:: Robbery – 3 years

:: Robbery – Indeterminate sentence for public protection

:: Supplying drugs – 3 years

:: Supplying drugs – 42 months

:: Theft – 8 months

:: Theft – 15 months

:: Theft – unknown

:: Theft – 4 years

:: Theft – 2 years

:: Trespass with intent – 15 months

:: Wounding with intent – 6 years 8 months

Inmates in open prisons technically cannot “escape” because they are able to come and go so are recorded as absconding if they fail to meet the terms of their sentence.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said:â?¬ “Keeping the public safe is our priority and we have made major changes to tighten up temporary release processes and open prison eligibility.

“Absconds have reached record lows under this Government – down 80% over the last 10 years – but each and every incident is taken seriously, with the police contacted as a matter of urgency.

“open prisons and temporary licence are an important tool in rehabilitating long term offenders but not at the expense of public safety.”

Prison Van break out gang jailed

Prison van raid in Salford

A gang who broke two prisoners out of a custody van in an armed raid in Greater Manchester were jailed.

A trio of armed men broke prisoners Ryan MacDonald and Stevie McMullen free from the vehicle during the audacious breakout in Salford.

The gang smashed a window with an axe before threatening the van driver with a shotgun and hitting him on the head.

They then forced the custody staff to release MacDonald and McMullen.

The attack happened at 9am on April 30 last year as the GEOAmey prison van made its way from HMP Altcourse, Liverpool to Manchester Crown Court where McMullen was standing trial accused of a kidnap, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit arson and possession of a firearm, while MacDonald was due to be sentenced for conspiracy to commit robbery.

The prisoners, both of no fixed address, admitted conspiring to escape from lawful custody. They were also found guilty of conspiracy to possess an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, Greater Manchester Police said.

MacDonald, 21, and McMullen, 32, were both sentenced to 13 years in prison at Manchester Crown Court.

McMullen was also jailed for 12 years for conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to kidnap.

Nathan Chapman, 25, Matthew McGivern, 32, and Anthony Smith, 21, and an unidentified fourth person were in a Saab car that approached the prison van on Regent Road. Three of them carried out the attack before driving away in their car.

Chapman, of Mulberry Court, Pendleton, and Smith, of no fixed address, both admitted conspiracy to escape from lawful custody and conspiracy to possess an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and were jailed for 10 years.

McGivern, of Red Moss Row, Agecroft, was found guilty of conspiracy to escape from lawful custody and sentenced to seven years in prison.

He was also jailed for six years for possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply.

A number of other people involved in the escape were also jailed.

Paul Taylor, 24, of no fixed abode, was arrested by Spanish police on the terrace of a Benidorm cafeteria in March and extradited back to the UK.

He was sentenced to five years and four months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to escape from lawful custody.

Mavis Chapman – Nathan Chapman’s 64-year-old grandmother – of West Crown Avenue, Ordsall, Salford, tried to hide the axe used by the gang in a neighbour’s wheelie bin.

She was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and was handed a 15-month prison term.

Karla Withers, 29, of St Joseph’s Drive, Ordsall, was found guilty of conspiring to escape from lawful custody. She also pleaded guilty to possession of ammunition without a firearm certificate and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

Marcus Hill, 28, of Chedworth Crescent, Little Hulton, and Michael Crossley, 26, of Bradford Road, Farnworth, both admitted assisting an offender.

Hill was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment and 12 months for possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply. Crossley was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Michael Morrison, 18, of Adelphi Court, Salford, admitted conspiracy to escape from lawful custody and was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

Stephen Wilson, 18, of Rosamund Drive, Salford was found guilty of conspiracy to escape from lawful custody and was sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

Ainsley MacDonald, 21, was found guilty of intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an either way offence after she contacted Ryan MacDonald on a contraband mobile phone while he was in prison. She was jailed for 15 months.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Reade of Greater Manchester Police said: “There are no doubts that this was a pre-planned and well executed operation that resulted in Stevie McMullen and Ryan MacDonald being sprung from a prison van.

“Weapons and threats of violence were used during this incident, which generated both press interest and concern within the community in equal measure but what we have proven today is that the determination of everyone involved to free McMullen and MacDonald was matched only by our resolve to recapture them and bring all conspirators to justice.

“For the life of me I cannot believe that they genuinely thought they could pull this off and get away scot free but then I don’t think they calculated into their plans our response, which was significant and utilised experienced officers from across the force to track them down one by one.

“This has been an extremely complex investigation involving many defendants but our detectives have worked tirelessly to identify and bring to book those responsible and the sentences handed down reflect the severity of what occurred.”

Maze Prison Officers Ignored Management

HMP The Maze
HMP The Maze

Out-of-control warders took over the running of the Maze Prison after the IRA escape in 1983, a secret Irish government report states.

Declassified documents show Irish officials warned the British government to take back control of the notorious jail before republican paramilitaries starting killing “easy target” prison officers.

Dublin’s then Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Barry was so worried about events inside the Maze, he despatched an underling to the British Embassy to make his concerns known.

In that meeting, the official describes the situation as “potentially explosive”.

“It is our understanding that the prison officers and their association are virtually running the prison, independent of the management of the prison which is powerless at present in enforcing its wishes,” a note of his remarks states.

“There is a danger of confrontation between the minority and the authorities reminiscent of the hunger strike as the facts begin to emerge.

“It is likely that the paramilitaries on the outside will react violently by killing prison officers and that we would strongly advise the British authorities to exercise command of the prison and ensure that all in the prison (prisoners and wardens alike) accept the norms of prison behaviour and act in accordance with prison discipline and within the prison regulations.”

Tensions were at boiling point inside the high-security facility after 38 republican prisoners escaped on September 1983, in what was the biggest mass breakout in British penal history.

In a further memo from the time, marked “Secret”, an Irish government official says he was satisfied members of the Prison Officers Association were “acting against the wishes of the prison authorities” and bore responsibility for the tensions.

It adds: “There have been inordinate beatings of prisoners, despite denials by the Northern Ireland Office.”

Two sources for the Irish government at the time were Father John Murphy, Catholic chaplain inside the Maze, and Father Denis Faul.

In one report in the Foreign Affairs files, Father Murphy told a government official that the only way inmates could have got weapons for the break out was through collusion from prison officers.

“There are suggestions among the prison officers that money may have changed hands, and one prison officer mentioned to him that certain bank accounts should be checked,” it states.

The memo details ill-treatment of inmates in the aftermath of the escape including their being stripped naked, dragged across the compound, leaving lacerations on their backs and buttocks.

Eighteen inmates were said to have suffered dog bites.

“The prison officers, who are almost without exception poorly educated Protestants, have taken complete control,” the Irish government files state.

“There is blatant sectarianism within the prison.”

In another note marked confidential, it says wardens were completely ignoring instructions from the second-in-command at the Maze, a Catholic, not to beat prisoners.

It also states prison officers demanded in vain to be issued guns by prison management.

The situation was top of the agenda during a meeting between then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Prior and Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Barry at Hillsborough on October 19 1983.

Briefing notes for the talks direct the minister to raise evidence showing the ill-treatment by prison officers, “who seem to have taken effective control of the prison”.

man in court after jail van escape

prison van

A man charged with escaping lawful custody after two people were sprung from a prison van will appear in court today.

Stevie McMullen, 21, will appear before Manchester magistrates, Greater Manchester Police said.

Two men aged 27 and 25 who were arrested on Sunday near Lancaster University on suspicion of assisting an offender remained in police custody for questioning.

A £10,000 reward remained on offer for information leading to the arrest of Ryan McDonald, 20, who was freed by three masked men in Salford when he was on his way to court on Tuesday

Prisoners Escape Custody Van in Salford

prison van

Two men were on the run after being sprung from a prison van today, police said.

The van came under attack shortly after 9am on Regent Road, Salford, a main road into Manchester around half a mile from the city’s crown court and Strangeways prison.

Police said two men were freed from the vehicle and the response is “ongoing”, with a large number of officers deployed to the area.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan said: “To reassure those that live nearby there is a significant police presence in the area.

“At this stage we do not believe that there is any on-going threat to the community and we would appeal to anyone who has any information to contact the police as soon as possible.”

The brazen rush-hour raid took place just off the same stretch of road as a similar attack on a prison van.

Liverpool gangsters Tony Downes and Kirk Bradley escaped in the ambush in July 2011 as they were being taken from Strangeways jail to their trial al Liverpool Crown Court.