John Anslow escape: Prison worker sacked

A prison worker was sacked and others disciplined following an investigation into how Black Country drugs lord John Anslow escaped from custody, it can be revealed today.

John Anslow, who escaped from the van
John Anslow, who escaped from the van

Anslow was violently sprung from a prison van by men armed with sledgehammers and a shotgun.

He fled the country to Cyprus – sparking an international manhunt.

However, just an hour before he escaped, prison officers at HMP Hewell missed a chance to spot a mobile phone being concealed by Anslow.

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He then used the phone to tell his assailants which prison van he was being escorted to Stafford Crown Court in.

Today it can be revealed that the Prison Service sacked one member of staff following an investigation into the escape and launched disciplinary action against a handful of others. A Prison Service spokesperson confirmed: “Following a thorough internal investigation, appropriate disciplinary action was taken against a small number of staff.”

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How we reported John Anslow's escape in 2012

Anslow should have been made to sit on a BOSS chair, which scans prisoners for electronic items, before he left the complex. But, as Woolwich Crown Court heard during a trial of several defendants last year accused of helping Anslow escape, he wasn’t properly searched. During the trial, prosecutor Michael Burrows QC told the court: “

One of the prison officers says of that, ‘it was staff just short-cutting the process to make it quicker’.”

Just minutes after leaving prison, the van transporting Anslow was attacked. and he was freed.

Anslow pleaded guilty to conspiracy to escape and was sentenced to seven years and two months in prison. This was added to a 22-year sentence for conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.