England

Two guilty of John Anslow prison van escape plot

John Anslow
Image caption John Anslow has admitted conspiring to escape from custody

Two men have been convicted of conspiring to break a man out of custody.

Murder suspect John Anslow, 33, was on his way to court in Stafford in January 2012 when he was sprung from his secure van by armed men wearing balaclavas, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

Anslow had left HMP Hewell, near Redditch, Worcestershire.

Stuart Reid, 52, from Coventry, and Robert Riddell, 41, of Birmingham, were found guilty.

Ben O'Reilly, 30, of Austin Croft, Birmingham, was found not guilty.

'Resourceful criminal'

The jury will continue its deliberations on Anslow's partner Samantha Glover, 27, of Parker Lane, Tipton, and two other defendants, Daniel Morgan, 29, of Parkeston Crescent, Birmingham, and Craig Wright, 29, of no fixed address.

All six, including Riddell, of Flamborough Close, Birmingham, and Reid, of Church Lane, Coventry, stood trial accused of conspiring to free Anslow.

During the seven-week trial, prosecutor Michael Burrows QC described Anslow, of Tipton, West Midlands, as "a ruthless and resourceful criminal who arranged his own escape with help from others".

He said Anslow was strip-searched and asked to squat by an officer on the morning he escaped, but he should then have been made to sit on a special chair used to scan prisoners for electrical devices.

Anslow, who has admitted conspiring to escape from custody, was arrested in Cyprus on 14 March this year and deported to the UK.

Four other people admitted conspiring to free Anslow, the jury has been told.

They are: Paul Cadby, 47, of Woodcote Road, Erdington, Birmingham; Luke Hazel, 24, formerly of Hockley, Birmingham; Moysha Shepherd, 23, of Hamstead Road, Great Barr, Birmingham; and Ryan Powell, 21, of Shenstone Road, Ladywood, Birmingham.

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