A man has been arrested in connection with the ambush of a prison van which led to the escape of an “extremely dangerous” murder suspect.
Officers from West Midlands Police detained the man on Monday night as Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke ordered an inquiry into how John Anslow was sprung from custody.
The 31-year-old, who is now at the centre of an international manhunt, escaped after a gang of three masked men stopped the prison van.
They smashed its windows with sledgehammers and punched its driver as it was taking inmates from Hewell Prison in Redditch, Worcestershire, to Stafford Crown Court on Monday morning.
John Anslow is charged with murdering businessman Richard Deakin
Anslow’s status was upgraded last week after he was charged with the murder of businessman Richard Deakin.
But instead of being transferred in a high-security prison service van with a police escort, Anslow was with other inmates in a van run by a private contractor.
At a news conference, detectives admitted this was a well-planned and well-executed raid. They even suggested it could have been planned before Anslow had been formally charged by the police.
Detectives hunting for Anslow searched five properties in the Tipton area of the West Midlands – where Anslow is from – and arrested a man in connection with the escape.
Detective Superintendent Martin Evans, of Staffordshire Police, the force leading the hunt, said: “The searches of these addresses is just one element of this fast-moving investigation.
“Police have also arrested a male from an address in the Tipton area in connection with the escape. He remains in police custody whilst the investigation progresses.”
Anslow is the first Category A prisoner to escape from custody in more than 17 years.
Police said Anslow, who is also known as Skitz, has connections across the country and overseas.
Officers are working with police forces across the country, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and authorities abroad. All airports and railway stations have been alerted.
Anslow is described as white, 5ft 10in tall, of medium build, with short, straight, dark brown hair.