Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Prison escape murderer is arrested

Police have arrested convicted murderer John Massey, who had escaped from prison

A convicted murderer who was on the run for 48 hours has been arrested.

John Massey, 64, used a makeshift rope, thought to be made from bed sheets, to escape over a wall from Pentonville prison in north London on Wednesday evening.

Scotland Yard said he was arrested at about 5.15pm on Friday in Faversham, Kent.

Massey was sentenced to life imprisonment for shooting a man dead with a sawn-off shotgun at a pub in Hackney, east London, in 1975. The escape was the third time he has given guards the slip.

One of Britain's longest-serving prisoners, he made off from the category C jail at about 6.30pm on Wednesday. Category C prisoners are described as those "for whom the very highest conditions of security are not necessary but for whom escape must be made very difficult".

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "John Massey has this afternoon, Friday June 29, been arrested by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service specialist crime and operations command. He has been taken into custody at a north London police station."

He was found following an intelligence-led operation, said the spokesman. A second male was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting an absconder and was also taken into police custody. The Prison Service is investigating how Massey managed to elude staff.

Massey was initially released on parole in June 2007 after spending the last 18 months of his life sentence in an open prison in Derbyshire preparing for freedom, it is understood. Under his parole terms, he was ordered to live in a bail hostel in Streatham, south London, under a curfew.

After several months, he broke his curfew and spent a number of days living with his dying father. He was immediately recalled to prison but decategorised after two-and-a-half years before being sent to Ford open jail in West Sussex. Massey reportedly walked out after hearing his sister was gravely ill. He was rearrested 10 months later and taken to Pentonville before his latest escape.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "This continues to be the subject of a thorough ongoing investigation and Mr Massey will be returned to prison custody as soon as possible. We always press for the heaviest penalties for those who escape or attempt to escape."

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