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Murderer remanded on prison escape charge after 18 months on the run

Sean Walmsley fled when two armed men confronted guards from HMP Walton in Liverpool outside Aintree University Hospital in February 2017.

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Shaun Walmsley fled during a planned visit to Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Shaun Walmsley fled during a planned visit to Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Shaun Walmsley fled during a planned visit to Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

A convicted murderer displayed a dramatically different look as he appeared in court accused of escaping from prison.

Shaun Walmsley, 29, had shoulder-length brown hair and a full beard when he appeared at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court via video-link on Wednesday.

Walmsley, who had previously had a shaved head, was arrested by armed officers in the Harehills area of Leeds on Tuesday afternoon.

He had been on the run for 18 months after fleeing when two men armed with a knife and a gun confronted prison guards outside Aintree University Hospital during a visit from HMP Walton in Liverpool in February 2017.

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How Shaun Walmsley looked when he went on the run 18 months ago (Merseyside Police/PA)

How Shaun Walmsley looked when he went on the run 18 months ago (Merseyside Police/PA)

Press Association Images

How Shaun Walmsley looked when he went on the run 18 months ago (Merseyside Police/PA)

During the brief court hearing, he spoke to confirm his name and date of birth and that he understood the charge of escape from lawful custody.

No application for bail was made and he was remanded in custody by magistrates.

He will next appear at Liverpool Crown Court on September 19.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, Merseyside Police said: “Escaped prisoner Shaun Walmsley is back in custody following a proactive operation by officers from Merseyside Police and West Yorkshire Police earlier yesterday.

“Walmsley has been charged with escape from lawful custody and will appear at Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates’ Court today.”

Walmsley was sentenced to life in June 2015 for his part in the murder of Anthony Duffy.

Mr Duffy, 33, was lured to an address in Aintree in May 2014 and “repeatedly stabbed”.

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Police carrying out a dawn raid at an address in Liverpool after Shaun Walmsley’s escape (Merseyside Police/PA)

Police carrying out a dawn raid at an address in Liverpool after Shaun Walmsley’s escape (Merseyside Police/PA)

Press Association Images

Police carrying out a dawn raid at an address in Liverpool after Shaun Walmsley’s escape (Merseyside Police/PA)

Police had put up a reward of £20,000 of Walmsley’s own money after he disappeared from a scheduled hospital appointment on February 21 last year.

The money was seized following his arrest and conviction for the murder.

Detectives also worked with officers from the National Crime Agency and police forces in Europe to locate Walmsley.

Detective Chief Inspector Natalie Perischine, of Merseyside Police, said: “There was a pre-planned operation between Merseyside Police and West Yorkshire Police which yesterday resulted in the arrest of Shaun Walmsley around 3pm in the afternoon.

“He was arrested in the Leeds area, in addition to that, three others were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. Each have been released under investigation.

“He was one of the UK’s ‘Most Wanted’. I said at the time of his escape we were working with police forces and other agencies in the UK and beyond. It certainly was an international manhunt.

“The violent circumstances of the offence he committed that led him to get a sentence of life imprisonment with a 30-year tariff demonstrates how violent an individual he is.

“He brutally murdered Anthony Duffy in a horrific violent attack. He’s certainly an incredibly dangerous individual.

“I’m really grateful to the media and the public, we have had overwhelming support during the last 18 months.”

Ms Perischine said police were also committed to finding those involved in Walmsley’s escape, and appealed for information.

She added: “We won’t give up until we find them.

“I made a promise to Anthony Duffy’s family and the community, no matter how long it took we would not give up. Ultimately you can run but you can’t hide.”

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