Police widen hunt for violent prisoner after hospital escape

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Police forces nationwide yesterday joined the hunt for a violent prisoner sprung from the clutches of prison officers as they escorted him to hospital.

Andrew Farndon made the “planned” escape as he was being escorted from Highpoint prison to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, for treatment on Wednesday.

It is understood the 26-year-old, whose family live in the Coventry area, inflicted a serious knife wound on himself in prison, before being taken to the hospital’s A&E department in a taxi accompanied by two guards.

When they arrived, a waiting gunman confronted the male and female prison officials, before fleeing with Farndon across the car park, Suffolk Police said.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Bennett yesterday said searches were continuing in Suffolk but added it was unlikely Farndon was still in the county.

Mr Bennett said: “Along with other forces, we are pursuing various lines of inquiry, including contacting his family, friends and associates in the West Midlands.”

Farndon’s escape is the second in a week, after an “extremely dangerous” category A prisoner, murder suspect John Anslow, was sprung from a prison van after it left Hewell Prison in Worcestershire.

Police said they were contacted just after 6.50pm by hospital staff who witnessed Farndon’s escape. The officers from Highpoint prison in Stradishall, near Newmarket, called moments later.

Armed response officers arrived on the scene within five minutes, Mr Bennett said. He added: “He was handcuffed to a female prison officer who removed the handcuffs when a handgun was pointed at her head. A male prison officer was also escorting him.”

Farndon is described as white with a goatee beard, and wearing cap and a light coloured jumper padded on the right because of his injury.