JAILED TERRORISTS LOSE HUMAN RIGHTS COURT OF APPEAL CASE

KAMEL BOURGASS

Two high-profile Islamic terrorist prisoners who claimed their human rights were violated when they were segregated for extended periods today failed to persuade leading judges that their treatment was unlawful.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London dismissed challenges brought by Ricin plot conspirator Kamel Bourgass and “liquid bomber” Tanvir Hussain, who were alleged to have intimidated and bullied other inmates over matters of faith.

Prison authorities had considered it was necessary to separate them from other prisoners “for good order and discipline”.

Both men denied accusations that they tried to influence and dictate the beliefs of other prisoners.

Today’s ruling by Lord Justice Maurice Kay, Lord Justice Lloyd and Lord Justice Elias follows a decision against Bourgass and Hussain by a High Court judge in February 2011.

In that ruling Mr Justice Irwin said the procedures adopted to place them in, and keep them in, segregation, did not breach their common law rights, or their rights under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to fair treatment.

Bourgass, 35, an Algerian, is serving 17 years for conspiracy to commit public nuisance by using poisons or explosives in relation to the 2002 Ricin terrorist plot

He is also serving a life sentence for murdering Detective Constable Stephen Oake, 40, with a kitchen knife during his 2003 arrest at a flat in Manchester.

He injured four other officers during that attack and is serving sentences for attempted murder of two officers and wounding a third.

Hussain, 31, was one of three men convicted of a plot to launch suicide attacks on flights from Heathrow to America and Canada using liquid bombs made of hydrogen peroxide hidden in soft drink bottles.

He is serving life with a minimum tariff of 32 years.

Lord Justice Maurice Kay said that while detained at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire, Bourgass was segregated from March 10 2010 until April 22 and again from April 23 until October or November of that year.

On April 24 2010 Hussain was found to have carried out a “serious attack” on another prisoner at HMP Frankland in County Durham. He was subjected to segregation until October 2010.

The judge said Bourgass had previously been held at HMP Wakefield “where he had been considered to have influence over other prisoners and to be involved in bullying and intimidation”.

He added: “Similar traits were observed following his transfer to HMP Whitemoor”.

Bourgass was segregated on March 10 following an alleged bullying incident. After reviews by the Segregation Review Board (SRB) “it was considered that Bourgass had been responsible for an escalation of violence in the prison ‘for faith-related reasons’ and that his influence over other prisoners was a threat to good order and security”.

In the case of Hussain, Lord Justice Maurice Kay said there had been a number of concerns following the April 2010 assault – the severity of the attack, the risk to other prisoners and the risk of reprisals.

There were also “intelligence reports suggesting that Hussain was involved in the conditioning of vulnerable prisoners who were susceptible to manipulation and that he preached extremist Islamic ideals through his cell window”.

Dismissing the appeals, the judge said: “Prison or YOI (young offenders institutions) have the responsibility of maintaining good order and discipline in a complex and potentially combustible setting.

“They have to make urgent decisions about such matters as segregation based on their experience, expertise and judgment.”

He said they are “acting in the interests of the security of the institution as a whole”.

He added: “Sometimes they may have to make a decision which has an immediate restricting effect on the whole or a large part of the institution – for example, the immediate ‘lockdown’ of an entire wing on receipt of apparently credible information about a planned breakout.

“Such urgent matters are not susceptible to a judicialisation of the decision-making process.”

In the cases of Bourgass and Hussain it would be “unrealistic” to require the initial decision to segregate to be taken by “an independent and impartial tribunal established by law”.

The “need for action is often immediate”, he said.

The judge said it seemed to him that reviews of the segregation imposed were “best entrusted to those with the necessary experience and expertise as an exercise of collective, professional discretion, with built-in safeguards”.

He added: “Amenability to judicial review is appropriate protection.”

Article 6 “was not engaged at the stages of the Governor’s decision or the SRBs”.

He said: “In my judgment, the decision-making processes within the prison and the role of the SRB provide a satisfactory framework for professional and evaluative judgments with the safeguard of judicial review.”

RUMBLED AT THE BAILEY? JAILED – THE BOGUS BRIEF

RUMBLED AT THE BAILEY - DAVID EVANS

A man with a “grandiose sense of self-importance” has been jailed for impersonating a qualified barrister at crown court after he donned a wig and robe to represent a friend he met in prison.

David Evans strolled into the Crown Court dressed in court attire, gained access to the advocates’ dressing room and visited his “client” in the cells.

However the 57-year-old was rumbled by the judge because of discrepancies in his clothing and a series of “hopelessly wrong” legal submissions.

A jury at Bristol Crown Court found Evans unanimously guilty of carrying out a reserved legal activity when not entitled and wilfully pretending to be a person with a right of audience.

Appearing at the same court, Mrs Justice Laura Cox DBE sentenced Evans to 18 months imprisonment after also hearing he had previous convictions for a similar offence.

Speaking directly to Evans, who works as an entertainer, the judge said: “You were convicted of two offences which reflected your sustained, deliberate and dishonest actions over the course of several months.

“You carried on the conduct of litigation on behalf of Terry Moss, appearing as an advocate on his behalf at the crown court when you were not qualified or authorised to do so.

“What you did was very serious and furthermore these offences are seriously aggravated by your previous conviction in 2005 when you falsely claimed to be a clinical psychiatrist.”

It was while Evans was serving a sentence for obtaining money by deception at Dartmoorprison that he met cannabis producer Terry Moss, who he would go on to try to represent during a preliminary hearing for a proceeds of crime application.

“The evidence showed you manipulated him,” Mrs Justice Cox said.

“The planning of this enterprise was entirely yours, it was your decision to style yourself as a senior advocate.

“You took advantage of Mr Moss who thought you were a genuine person.

“You are a complex and clearly intelligent man… you have a grandiose sense of self-importance.

“You have exhibited no remorse and you have no appreciation that you did anything wrong.”

Evans, of Culver Close, Penarth, South Wales, dressed in a grey suit, blue shirt and striped tie, and showed no emotion as he was taken down to the cells.

In mitigation Huw Evans, defending, said Mr Moss, having sacked two separate legal teams, was “desperate” for someone to represent him and Evans was simply trying to help a friend.

“Whatever psychological motives he (Evans) might have had, this was a man with an intellectual ability that was greater than those around him who was using his time to help them,” Mr Evans said.

However the court heard that between 1978 and 2005 Evans had been convicted of 16 offences involving theft and fraud.

In 2005 he dishonestly obtained services from Werndale Hospital, near Carmarthen in Mid Wales, where he held eight consultations with four different patients pretending to be a clinical psychologist.

He had previously submitted a CV to the hospital stating he had nine GCSEs, a masters degree in psychology and previous employment with North Devon District Council.

While purporting to represent Mr Moss, a written agreement was made between the men stating Mr Moss would pay Evans £1,000 a month for his expenses and overheads.

Mrs Justice Cox said she was “satisfied” financial gain had formed part of Evans motivation for trying to represent Mr Moss in court.

Evans, who had no legal training, had sent a number of headed letters to Truro and Plymouth Crown courts while he was still in prison stating he was a “senior advocate”.

In one letter he claimed his office would be “closed” until July 12 2010 – the date he was due to be released from Dartmoor prison.

Evans made several legal applications, asking for time extensions and adjournments and also sent a skeleton legal argument to the prosecution.

He even went to the length of getting Mr Moss’s relatives to buy him a solicitor’s gown, barrister’s wig and legal books, before appearing in front of Judge Stephen Wildblood QC on August 17 2010.

During the trial Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, said Evans was “not naive” and had repeatedly pretended to the court that he was a trained barrister.

“He knew perfectly well that he was not entitled to go to court, put on a solicitor’s gown, put the collar and the bands on, put the wig on and stand in court to represent Mr Moss but he did so,” Mr Bell said.

Giving evidence, Judge Wildblood told the court Evans had made a series of legal assertions which were “wrong in an elementary way”.

The judge, who sits in Truro, Plymouth and Exeter crown courts, went on to make inquiries of the Law Society and the Bar Council, which covers barristers, but found no record of Evans.

When he asked the man before him what his legal qualifications were, the judge told the court he was “stunned” when Evans admitted he had “none”.

It was after this that Evans was exposed and subsequently arrested by police.

publishED! THE DAMNING REPORT THAT COULD PROVE THE LOCKERBIE BOMBER IS INNOCENT

The full report of the legal grounds for the Lockerbie bomber’s second appeal has been published online by a newspaper which could prove Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi is innocent – a link to the report is at the bottom of this post.

The Sunday Herald today posted the 800-page Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) document on its website, the first time the report has been in the public domain.

The document, known as a statement of reasons, sets out the full details of the grounds for referral back to the appeal court in 2007 in the case of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

The six grounds for referral were previously published by the SCCRC – the body which investigates potential miscarriages of justice – in summary.

Megrahi dropped his second appeal shortly before he was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2009 by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

The Scottish Government had brought forward legislation to bring about the publication of the full report but data protection rules, reserved to Westminster, barred its formal publication.

The Herald, which earlier this month published extracts of the report, said it had made the entire report available because it was in the public interest. The newspaper said Megrahi himself had sent a copy to Mr MacAskill.

Gerard Sinclair, the SCCRC’s chief executive, said: “We are aware of the document which has now been published on the Herald website. Whilst we have not yet been able to fully check through every page I can confirm that our first impression is that this does appear to be a copy of our statement of reasons.

“The Commission has always been willing to publish this document, subject to the appropriate protection of individuals’ rights, and to that end has been working for some time with the relevant parties, including the Crown Office and both the Scottish and UK Governments, to allow for publication of the outcome of our inquiries into Mr Megrahi’s conviction.”

The Crown Office released a statement today stating that “unauthorised publication” did not “deal with any of these (data protection and confidentiality) issues which rightly constrain all public authorities by law”.

It said: “We have become very concerned at the drip feeding of selective leaks and partial reporting from parts of the statement of reasons over the last few weeks in an attempt to sensationalise aspects of the contents out of context.

“Persons referred to in the statement of reasons have been asked to respond to these reports without having access to the statement of reasons and this is to be deplored.

“Further allegations of serious misconduct have been made in the media against a number of individuals for which the Commission found no evidence. This is also to be deplored.

“In fact the Commission found no basis for concluding that evidence in the case was fabricated by the police, the Crown, forensic scientists or any other representatives of official bodies or government agencies.”

In preparing for Megrahi’s second appeal, the Crown Office said it had considered all the information in the statement of reasons and had “every confidence in successfully defending the conviction”.

The Crown Office stressed that while it was the SCCRC’s role to determine whether a miscarriage of justice may have taken place, “it does not follow that there was a miscarriage of justice, only the Appeal Court can decide that”.

Megrahi was the only person convicted of the atrocity which killed 270 people when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie in 1988.

He was convicted by Scottish judges in 2001, unsuccessfully appealing against the verdict the same year.

He launched a second appeal, which was referred back to the courts in 2007.

Four of the grounds for referral back to the appeal court outlined in the SCCRC report refer to undisclosed evidence from the Crown to Megrahi’s defence team.

Those grounds cover evidence about a positive identification of Megrahi by Tony Gauci, a Maltese shopkeeper who said he sold clothes to a Libyan man.

The clothes were linked to a suitcase loaded on to the plane, which was then linked to the bomb and eventually to Megrahi.

The SCCRC raised concerns that evidence suggesting Mr Gauci had seen a magazine article linking Megrahi to the bomb was not passed to the defence. Contradictions about the day Megrahi was said to have bought the clothes were also highlighted.

Also of concern to the SCCRC was undisclosed evidence about Mr Gauci’s interest in rewards.

A fifth reason covered “secret” intelligence documents not seen by Megrahi’s legal team while the sixth referred to new evidence on the date of clothes purchased in Malta.

Commenting on the publication, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I welcome the publication in full of this report, which is something that the Scottish Government has been doing everything in our powers to facilitate.

“I especially welcome the fact that it offers a full account of the SCCRC’s deliberations rather than the partial accounts which have appeared in the media in recent weeks.

“While the report shows that there were six grounds on which it believed a miscarriage of justice may have occurred, it also rejected 45 of the 48 grounds submitted by Megrahi, and in particular it upheld the forensic basis of the case leading to Malta and to Libyan involvement.”

He added: “This report provides valuable information, from an independent body acting without fear or favour, and while we can not expect it to resolve all the issues in the Lockerbie case, it does however lay the basis for narrowing the areas of dispute and in many ways is far more comprehensive than any inquiry could ever hope to be.

“The Lockerbie case of course remains an open criminal investigation, and while the only place to determine guilt or innocence is in a court of law, the SCCRC is a valuable body which is itself part of the Scottish criminal justice system.”

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Politics programme, Christine Grahame, convenor of Holyrood’s Justice Committee, called for an inquiry into the Crown Office.

She said the publication of the report was “highly significant”.

“The question now is where to go from here, and I would suggest there are routes to take,” she said.

“There are allegations in the report that the Crown Office withheld crucial evidence that might have been substantive evidence to assist the defence, and I think there is a question about how the Crown Office acted.”

She added: “With regard to the Crown Office, we can’t have rebuttals within the press, what we require is an inquiry.

“Colin Boyd was Lord Advocate at the time, if he’s correct (in his rebuttals) then there is no problem, he should have nothing to hide, nor should his office.”

On the appeal against Megrahi’s conviction, Ms Grahame said it would be “quite possible” for his family, after his death, to “step into the dead man’s shoes and resuscitate the appeal with the leave of the court”.

“The appeal process is not finished. There is the appeal process to deal with the conviction, but there is the very serious allegation here against the Crown,” she said.

“I have never known anything like this before. And I think where we have an allegation, I would wish the Crown to be able to establish that this is unfounded.”

Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP said: “I welcome the publication of this full and detailed account of the events surrounding the Lockerbie case.

“Sunshine is the best disinfectant. It is vital for Scotland that our justice system is open and transparent.

“If mistakes have been made, it is vital that we learn the lessons so that justice can be served.”

 

http://login.heraldscotland.com/SCCRC-Statement-of-Reasons-red.pdf

SOLICITOR JAILED FOR £50K OAP FRAUD

MICHAEL RIGG - THE JAILED SOLICITOR

A solicitor has been jailed for 26 months after stealing more than £51,000 from an elderly dementia sufferer who treated him like a son.

Michael Rigg, 60, of Carlton Mount, Yeadon, Leeds, had known 84-year-old Jessie Robinson for around 30 years and stood to receive half of her estate when she died.

He began using her money “for his own piggy bank” after he was made power of attorney when Mrs Robinson went into a care home.

Mark Foley, defending Rigg, told Leeds Crown Court his client was “a man of modest means” who spent the money on donations to the church and charity, his mother’s nursing home fees and payments to people “in financial need”.

He said: “That money, it is not suggested, was spent on a profligate lifestyle. There is no evidence of this money being spent frivolously.”

Mr Foley told the court that Rigg, a keen train spotter and cyclist, could not explain why he had taken the money and had “great difficulty in really recognising the enormity and seriousness of what he’s done”.

He said: “One possibility is he was getting his money out before it was spent on nursing home fees.”

The court heard Rigg was a family friend of Mrs Robinson who acted as a solicitor for her and her late husband, looked after her and visited her regularly.

Mr Foley said: “He describes himself as being a son-like figure to the complainant.”

Mrs Robinson drew up a will with a different solicitor, naming Rigg as a 50% beneficiary and, in September 2007, she granted him power of attorney.

The court heard that, while the documents were drawn up correctly, Rigg never registered them.

Over the next three years, he withdrew a total of £51,488.68 from three building society accounts and a post Office account.

He was arrested in 2011 when staff at the Yeadon branch of the Leeds Building Society became suspicious.

He initially told police he had given some of the money to Mrs Robinson but later admitted he had used it for his own purposes.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud at Leeds Crown Court last month.

Mr Foley said: “This is a solicitor of 60 years of age, a man of good character, who has committed an appalling breach of trust.”

Sentencing Rigg to 26 months in prison, Recorder Tahir Khan QC said: “It was against a vulnerable victim and in these circumstances it is difficult to imagine somebody being more vulnerable and in need of protection.

“You were in a position of great responsibility and trust towards Mrs Robinson.”

He continued: “You persistently stole money belonging to the victim over three years.

“Your occupation as a solicitor would have left you with no doubt at all that what you were engaging in was serious dishonesty.”

The court heard Rigg had repaid the money taken from Mrs Robinson and proceeds of crime proceedings were also under way.

Speaking outside the court after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Steven Taylor, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “This is a bizarre case with no real motive. The only thing that we found was this was easily accessible money.

“He used his client and friend’s money for his own piggy bank.”

The detective added: “The fact that he was a family friend is an aggravating feature. The fact that he’s a professional in a role as such to protect his client, it’s unforgivable really.

“We’re expected as professionals to protect the most vulnerable in society, which this lady is.”

FIREARMS COP SHOT HIMSELF IN THE HEAD

THE SCENE WHERE PC CORLESS SHOT HIMSELF IN THE HEAD

A firearms officer killed himself after he became “obsessed” that his policewoman lover was seeing another policeman, an inquest heard today.

Pc Nick Corless, 36, was found with a gunshot wound to his head in a grey Volkswagen Golf car parked in Brynn Street, St Helens, Merseyside, in February last year.

An inquest heard that the policeman, who worked at Manchester Airport for Greater Manchester Police (GMP), killed himself because he feared losing his job after assaulting his lover, Anne Marie Greenall, who also worked for GMP.

Pc Corless left behind his widow Lisa and son, who was one at the time of his death.

According to the Whiston coroner, Dr Christopher Sumner, Pc Corless had grown suspicious that his lover was seeing another police officer called Lee Entwistle.

This suspicion had led to several episodes of violence during the weekend of his death.

Before recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Sumner said: “At the time of his death Mr Corless seemed besotted and obsessed with the thought that she (Anne Marie) was having a relationship with another man.

“There is certainly no doubt in my mind that he was carrying out an extramarital relationship with Anne Marie Greenall.

“On the weekend of the February 25, 26 and 27 last year there was an incident in which Nick Corless assaulted Anne Marie.

“In my mind, he thought that at best he would be referred to Greater Manchester Police’s professional standards branch, and at worst he would face charges and imprisonment.

“Prison is not the best of places at any time, but it is certainly not an easy place for a police officer.”

“It is clear that he intended to take his own life and therefore I can only record one verdict and that is suicide,” he added.

The inquest heard that Pc Corless, a former soldier, and Pc Greenall had first started a relationship when they were posted with Merseyside Police at St Helens in 1999.

Detective Sergeant Eion Turner of Merseyside Police told the inquest that the relationship ended when Pc Corless went to London to join the Metropolitan Police, and there was no further contact between them until March 2010.

Although Pc Greenall had got married in 2008, the “spark” between her and Pc Corless was rekindled.

Pc Greenall told her husband she had been seeing Pc Corless in July 2010 and left him in August, he said.

A week before he died, Pc Corless also left his wife after spending his first Christmas with his then one-year-old son.

But throughout 2010 and into 2011, Pc Corless had grown increasingly jealous of another officer named Lee Entwistle, whom Pc Greenall had met at a murder scene in May 2009.

On the Friday before his death, Pc Corless and Pc Greenall returned from having drinks.

Pc Corless started stroking Pc Greenall, but she said she felt sick and did not want to have sex.

He said she described how Pc Corless “just lost it” and told her she would not reject Pc Entwistle, before straddling her and punching her in the face. The incident was not reported.

The following day, Pc Greenall went to her father’s address and told him what had happened.

Some 50 minutes later a fight broke out on the doorstep between her father and Pc Corless.

Police were called and when they arrived they saw bruises on Pc Greenall’s face and jaw from the previous night’s assault.

Facing an investigation from Merseyside Police and a professional standards investigation by Greater Manchester Police over the matter, the following day Pc Corless killed himself outside Pc Greenall’s home with a Beretta shotgun.

Inside the car, officers found a letter in which Pc Corless told Pc Greenall how sorry he was for attacking her although he could not remember what had happened, he said.

He also said he believed she was seeing someone, Lee, behind his back and his heart was broken.

He wrote: “I will be waiting for you in another life. I’m going to lose my job and go toprison. This is the only way I can go’.”

A statement by Pc Corless’s family was read out at the inquest describing him as a “loving family man who loved his job as a police officer, which was something he always wanted to do”.

His widow Lisa also described him as a “loving” man and his commanding officer, Superintendent David Hull, talked of “an extremely well liked and respected colleague”.

TIME TO TREAT SEX OFFENDERS AS PSYCHIATRIC PATIENTS?

MICHAEL PHILLIPS

SENTENCE TODAY FOR THE RAPIST WHO ATTACKED THREE WOMEN – WHILE UNDER POLICE SURVEILLANCE

Above is Michael Phillips, 35, the convicted rapist who sexually assaulted a woman and exposed himself to two others, despite being under police surveillance, will be sentenced today.

Michael Phillips, 35, sexually assaulted a 28-year-old woman in Church Street, Brighton, East Sussex, on September 1 last year, almost a month after he indecently exposed himself to a 35-year-old woman in Madeira Drive, Brighton, on August 9, and another woman, aged 23, at Dukes Mound, Brighton, on August 11.

He had only been released from a 10-year prison sentence in July 2011 for the rape and indecent assault of an 18-year-old woman in Brighton, when he committed the offences.

A jury at Lewes Crown Court convicted him of all three offences last month.

Mark Leech editor of Converse, the national newspaper for prisoners said we do not treat sex offenders in the correct way.

“The majority of sex offenders go through their sentence denying their guilt, refusing to take part in sex offender treatment programmes and despite the danger everyone accepts they pose when the time comes for release they are kicked out the gate and some other innocent woman suffers – which is exactly what happened in this case.

“Sexual deviancy, such as a passion for rape, should be seen as a psychiatric condition which requires treatment in secure psychiatric centres where the resources and skills are in place to deliver treatment – but from where, more importantly, release is not possible until two psychiatrists sign to say the risk of reoffending is now acceptably low.

“Our insistance on seeing sex offenders as criminalS to be punished, rather than patients who need secure treatment, may be understandable from a emotional point of view – but all it does is sentence other females to the horror of rape and worse.”

A KENT PRISON DEATH – AND AN OMBUDSMAN WHO TAKES YEARS TO INVESTIGATE

HMP Swaleside

A robber died after being found hanging in his cell in Kent.

John Baker-Heffernan, 22, who was serving five years for robbery, attempted robbery and burglary, was found in his cell at the category B Swaleside prison and pronounced dead about 25 minutes later.

Baker-Heffernan, who was convicted last year and sentenced in January, was not the subject of specific suicide and self-harm prevention measures, it is understood.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “Staff attempted resuscitation and paramedics attended but he was pronounced dead.

“As with all deaths in custody, the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation.”

Mark Leech editor of Converse the national prisoners newspaper said: :”Its always tragic when these deaths happen, but asking the Prisons Ombudsman to conduct an investigation is simply pointless – often his anonymous reports into deaths in custody are published six or seven YEARS after the death itself.

“Prisoners have no faith in the current Prisons Ombudsman, Nigel Newcomen who was appointed to the post last September.

“He is the first Prisons Ombudsman since the independent post was created almost 20 years ago post to have a long history of employment with the Prison Service he is now paid to investigate; a background that damns him in many people’s eyes – and certainly my own.”

HARRY POTTER STAR CONVICTED OF RIOT

JAMIE WYLETT

A star of the Harry Potter films was today found guilty of violent disorder during last summer’s riots in London.

But Jamie Waylett, 22, who played Hogwarts bully Vincent Crabbe, was cleared of being in possession of a petrol bomb.

The jury took three-and-a-half hours to reach the verdicts at Wood Green Crown Court in north London.

LIFER ON THE RUN

LESTER JACKSON

A convicted murderer has absconded from prison.

Lester Jackson, 43, was convicted following the crime in London in 1991 and jailed.

On Monday he left HMP Kirkham in Lancashire to attend a work placement in St Annes but did not turn up and has not been seen since.

Detectives want help tracing him.

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Quinn said he did not believe the public were at risk but “it is important that he is returned to custody as soon as possible”.

Jackson is described as white, 6ft 1in, of slim build, with short brown hair and green eyes.

Mr Quinn said that he could be in the St Annes or Blackpool areas or possibly in Cumbria, Hertfordshire or London.

He said: “I would appeal to anyone who knows where Lester Jackson is to come forward and contact the police immediately.

“I would reassure the public that the relevant authorities carry out numerous checks on people prior to them being placed and that we have a team of officers searching for Jackson.

“At this stage, I do not believe that members of the public are at risk.

“If anyone has any information then I would appeal to them to get in touch – even the smallest details could prove crucial as we try to locate him.”

Any sightings should be reported to Lancashire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

CONVICT BECOMES PRISON OFFICER

ABDUL GHANI

A former Taliban commander who plotted scores of attacks against troops in Afghanistan is to become a prison officer after abandoning his old way of life.

Abdul Ghani is currently serving a 20-year sentence in Lashkar Gah prison.

He was jailed after being handed in to the authorities by his Taliban leaders when he refused to carry out a suicide bomb attack.

The defector was described as a “middle manager” with the insurgency in the country’s Helmand province.

The 37-year-old openly admits to being responsible for co-ordinating gun and bomb attacks on coalition troops, but that came to an end when he refused orders to sacrifice his own life.

Now, after more than two years behind bars, he has won the trust of prison authorities and is regularly allowed to leave prison unescorted.

After turning his back on fighting, he hopes to become a prison guard when he is released – joining the ranks he once despised.

Ghani said: “I don’t feel that I’m in prison. I feel like I’m at home.”

He is currently being held in the British-designed high-security prison at Lashkar Gah.

He told how he is allowed out of prison to travel around the provincial capital city and is visited behind bars by his seven-year-old son.

Ghani has even been given use of a motor-tricycle to travel to and from the jail, running errands and collecting supplies.

Speaking about his transformation, Ghani said that when he arrived at the jail he had wanted “to kill all of the staff”.

He has been awarded the special privileges for turning his back on the fighting.

The authorities hope the rewards will act as an incentive to other fighters to turn themselves in.

Phil Robinson, prisons advisor at the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team, said the change in Ghani’s mindset had been remarkable.

The former head of operations at HMP Wandsworth said: “When he arrived, he was aggressive.

“His attitude was: ‘I want to kill the staff’ and in a matter of months they’ve changed his mindset.”

Nearly half of the prison’s 1,000 inmates are convicted insurgents and they are kept in separate cells from the main population.

Many are undergoing training in subjects such as mechanics, tailoring and computing in order to find alternative employment on their release.

Mark Leech editor of Converse the national prisoners newspaper welcome the move.

“Over here ex-offenders, who probably know more about how to reduce crime than any half-baked politician, are not seen as a potential resource – neither are former prison staff come to that.

“The ill-named ‘independent’ prison inspectorate and the hapless Prisons Ombudsman have never found room for successful ex-offenders or former prison officers, which is why both organizations are in such a mess – at least in this case they recognize people can change their way of life and that former prison staff with decades of experience have much to offer.”