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Pentonville escapee 'sent Facebook warning to enemies'

Published 09/11/2016

Police handout file photos of James Anthony Whitlock (left) and Matthew Baker
Police handout file photos of James Anthony Whitlock (left) and Matthew Baker

A convicted attempted murderer warned enemies they will "meet again" in Facebook posts before his escape from HMP Pentonville, it has been reported.

Knifeman Matthew Baker is said to have told rivals: "I know your names n where you live" on a profile that showed pictures of him bulking up in the prison gym.

Another post hinted that a plot to break out of the Category B jail was taking shape, according to The Sun.

The 28-year-old was due to be sentenced for stabbing a man at a court hearing on November 11, but fled the north London prison with fellow inmate James Whitlock, 31.

On Tuesday, Scotland Yard said officers from the Flying Squad and the force's murder and major crime team had joined the hunt for the men.

Detectives appealed for help in tracing the fugitives to bring the search to a "safe and swift conclusion".

According to The Sun, Baker, who attacked his victim in Dagenham, posted a sinister message on Facebook using a smuggled phone just days after his conviction.

"Let's get one thing straight to anyone who wants to say anythink behind my back," he wrote on October 24.

"I know your names n where yous live n believe me we'll meet again one day n i dont forget nothic just remember that yous know who yous are."

Two days later he told friends: "We can't change the past but we can change the future."

A cell reportedly used by Whitlock, who had been charged in connection with a string of ATM thefts, and Baker were found empty just before midday on Monday.

The pair reportedly used diamond-tipped cutting equipment to break through cell bars before scaling a perimeter wall of the Victorian prison.

Their escape is said to have gone undetected for several hours because they stuffed their beds with pillows to make it look like they were asleep.

Whitlock was described by police as being white, with a slim build and the word "Tracy" tattooed on his torso. Baker was described as white and ginger-haired.

Police warned the public not to approach the men if they are seen and urged sightings to be reported. Detectives have also appealed to anyone who may be helping the men to hide to turn them in.

Following the breakout the head of the prison's independent inspection watchdog said Pentonville was "a soft target" because of the "dilapidated" state of its windows.

Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association said on Tuesday that the breakout had followed years of under-investment and staff cuts, and the focus should fall on the Government.

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