Monday, 7 November 2016

The convicts are on the run after reportedly using diamond-tipped cutting equipment to break through cell bars.

Matthew Baker (L) and James Whitlock (R) Pic: Metropolitan Police
Image Caption:Matthew Baker (L) and James Whitlock. Pic: Metropolitan Police
Two prisoners have escaped from Pentonville prison in north London, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed.
They were discovered missing on Monday morning when jail staff found mannequins in their beds. 
It is believed the pair used diamond-tipped cutting equipment to break through cell bars before scaling the perimeter wall. 
A manhunt is now underway for James Whitlock, aged 31, and 28-year-old Matthew Baker. 
Police have warned the public not to approach the two convicts as they could become violent, but to call 999 if they see either of them. 
Baker was on remand awaiting sentencing after being found guilty two weeks ago of the attempted murder of a man at a flat in Dagenham.
He was due to be sentenced on Friday.

The entrance to Pentonville Prison in north London
Image Caption:The entrance to Pentonville Prison in north London
Whitlock, who has the word 'Tracy' tattooed on his body, was also on remand after being charged with conspiracy to burgle more than 19 ATMs between December 2015 and August 2016.
Mike Rolfe, from the Prison Officers' Association, told Sky News the escapees would have had help from outside, and equipment may have been sent in by drone. 
The Metropolitan Police said it was called to Pentonville in Islington at 11.44am on Monday. 
A spokeswoman from the Prison Service said: "Public protection is our top priority and we take escapes from custody extremely seriously. 
"We are working closely with the police and are urgently investigating the matter." 
Last month a 21-year-old inmate, Jamal Mahmoud, died after being stabbed in Pentonville, while two others were injured in the same attack.
A convicted murderer, John Massey, escaped the north London jail in 2012 after managing to climb a wall using a rope made out of bed sheets, before being recaptured after 48 hours on the run. 

The inside of Pentonville Prison in north London
Image Caption:Pentonville is a Victorian jail that opened in 1842
The category B Victorian prison, which opened in 1842, holds more than 1,200 men.
The former Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, described Pentonville last year as "the most dramatic example of failure" within the prisons estate. 
Shadow justice minister Yasmin Qureshi said: "The past 24 hours have provided yet more evidence of the crisis in our prison estate which has developed under this Tory government.
"The government must act immediately to make sure our prisons are safe and secure." 
Last week, Justice Secretary Liz Truss disclosed a package of  measures aimed at reforming prisons. 
The strategy includes employing 2,500 new prison officers and "no fly zones" to stop drones dropping drugs and other contraband into prisons.
Figures show in 2015-16 there were two escapes from prisons, neither of which were still at large. 
A report by the Ministry of Justice earlier this year said escapes are "rare" and "taken very seriously".