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10:22am UK, Thursday January 26, 2012
A prisoner who has escaped before is on the run again after two officers were threatened at gunpoint and forced to release him as he was being taken to hospital.
Andrew Farndon, 26, was being transported from HMP Highpoint to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds after he suffered a knife wound at the prison.
Reports said he had cut himself earlier on Wednesday at the prison in Stradishall, near Newmarket.
It was decided Farndon’s injuries needed hospital treatment. He arrived at West Suffolk Hospital in a taxi with one male and one female police guard, who he was handcuffed to.
Outside AE, a gunman appeared and pointed his weapon at the female guard’s head, insisting Farndon be freed. She removed the handcuffs.
Farndon was convicted in 2007 for GBH with intent following a hammer attack
The pair then ran off across the car park and may have escaped in a dark-coloured vehicle.
Farndon is the second prisoner to escape from custody this week. Murder suspect John Anslow is still on the run after the prison van he was being transported in was ambushed by three masked men on Monday.
Suffolk Police said they were contacted just before 7pm by the hospital’s AE staff who reported they could see a man with a gun outside.
They received a second call shortly after from the escorting prison officers, who said they had a gun pulled on them by a man who had confronted them.
Farndon was being transported from HMP Highpoint to West Suffolk Hospital when he escaped
It is not the first time Farndon, who is serving time after he was found guilty of grievous bodily harm (GBH) following a brutal hammer attack that left his victim with a fractured skull, has escaped from custody.
During a court appearance in connection with the GBH charge, he leapt from the dock at Coventry Crown Court and went on the run from court for a time.
However, he was classified as a category C prisoner – meaning he was considered unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.
Farndon is described as white, with a shaved head and a goatee beard, and was wearing a dark blue baseball cap and a light-coloured jumper that was padded on the right side due to his knife injury.
John Anslow is still on the run after being sprung from a prison van earlier this week
The man with the gun is described as white, in his mid-40s, around 5ft 8ins tall, of stocky build, possibly with a Scottish accent, and was wearing a white top and blue jeans.
Both guards who were escorting him have been questioned by police. No-one was injured.
A Prison Service spokeswoman said a full inquiry would follow.
Former convict Mark Leech, editor of the national prisoners’ newspaper ConVerse, said questions need to be answered about how both men were able to escape. He suspects mobile phones were being used by inmates to plan events.
He said: “How is it that security intelligence at these prisons missed completely both
of these clearly pre-planned escapes?”
Following the hammer attack in Coventry, Farndon was serving an indeterminate sentence, with a minimum of three years before being considered for parole.
Members of the public are advised not to approach either of the men but to call police immediately if they are seen.