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Sky News May 2015

May 31, 2015

Escaped Violent Convict ‘Has Fled To Spain’

Sky News has been told Haroon Ahmed walked out of prison with a group of visitors as a “joke”, thinking he would be stopped.

A violent criminal who escaped from a high-security prison in Staffordshire has fled to Spain, Sky News understands.

Police are hunting Haroon Ahmed, who walked out of HMP Dovegate in Marchington, Staffordshire, on Wednesday afternoon.

Sky’s Harriet Hadfield said Ahmed left the country by road, possibly via the Channel Tunnel, and did not use a passport.

He apparently managed to leave the prison, which is run by private firm Serco, among a group of people who had visited him, despite being on a “watch list”.

Sky News has been contacted by Jason Coghlan, who runs JaCogLaw, a legal firm that aims to put British criminals in touch with Spanish lawyers.

The legal fixer, who is himself a former convict, said he has been asked to represent Ahmed and has advised him to return to the UK.

Mr Coghlan said the 26-year-old tried to walk out of the prison with some friends as a “joke”, thinking he would be stopped.

He said: “He simply took his bib off, they identified him as a prisoner and he should have been picked up there.

“If the staff were on the ball and doing their job properly, he should have been stopped … but they showed him the door and opened it for him.”

Sky News has been unable to independently verify Ahmed’s whereabouts.


A Staffordshire Police spokeswoman said: “We are actively investigating all lines of inquiry at the moment.

“We cannot confirm or deny that he has fled to Spain.”

Ahmed is thought to be coming forward due to the impact his escape was having on his family.

His brother, Majeed Ahmed, 25, of Clarence Road, Derby, has been charged with assisting a prisoner in escaping from prison.

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

Ahmed, who was jailed for robbery, is described as Asian, 6ft tall and thin. He has short black hair and was last seen wearing jeans and a grey T-shirt.

A black Volkswagen Golf recovered as part of the investigation has been forensically examined.

Michael Guy, Serco’s director at HMP Dovegate, said: “We are taking this extremely seriously and I have commissioned an urgent investigation into the circumstances of the escape.

“We are working closely with the police to identify what went wrong and to address any failings.”


Dovegate Prison: Haroon just walked out with visitors

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Escapes from prison custody are extremely rare but we take each one incredibly seriously. Public protection is our top priority.

“A prisoner at HMP Dovegate was found to be missing on Wednesday 27 May.

“We are working closely with the police as part of their investigation.”

HMP Dovegate was criticised by the Chief Inspector of Prisons in a report published on Friday.

It found there were high levels of violence in the jail and said visiting arrangements were poor.

Article from Sky News, 31 May, 2015