Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

£10,000 reward to catch prisoner

John Anslow escaped from a prison van following an ambush near Hewell prison in Redditch
Police block the roads to Hewell Grange Prison after a prisoner escaped from a prison van

Detectives hunting an "extremely dangerous" murder suspect who escaped from a prison van have offered a £10,000 reward for information about his whereabouts.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender following the "well-orchestrated ambush" that saw John Anslow being sprung from custody, and is being questioned by police.

Officers from West Midlands Police detained the 44-year-old suspect just hours after Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke ordered an inquiry into how Anslow was able to escape from a prison van.

There is still no sign of the highly-dangerous category A prisoner, now at the centre of an international manhunt.

A gang of three masked men stopped the vehicle, smashed its windows with sledgehammers and punched its driver as it was taking inmates from Hewell prison in Redditch to Stafford Crown Court. Instead of being transferred in a high-security prison service van with a police escort, Anslow was with other inmates in a van run by a private contractor.

Detective Superintendent Martin Evans, of Staffordshire Police, the force leading the hunt, said: "Our investigation into finding escaped prisoner John Anslow is continuing to move quickly as we follow several lines of inquiry.

"Staffordshire Police are offering a £10,000 reward for information that leads to Anslow's arrest and return to prison. We're hoping that this sizeable reward will encourage those who know where Anslow might be to come forward. All calls will be treated in the strictest confidence."

Property has been recovered following the execution of five search warrants in the Tipton area of the West Midlands and is now being examined by police, he added.

Officers have received calls about possible sightings of a silver Mercedes car used by Anslow and his associates,and are appealing for information about a silver Volkswagen Scirocco found abandoned close to the scene. It is thought the offenders used it during the incident, then switched to the Mercedes.

Anslow's status was upgraded to Category A only after he was charged with the murder of businessman Richard Deakin last week.

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