Derby

Escapee fooled Derbyshire prison guards with dummy

Ross Gallagher Image copyright Northamptonshire Police
Image caption Ross Gallagher was spotted "hopping gardens" after absconding from HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire before falling through a shed roof

An inmate escaped from an open prison after fooling guards by making a dummy in his bed, a court has heard.

Ross Gallagher, 32, was seen "hopping gardens" after absconding from HMP Sudbury, in Derbyshire, on 19 October, before falling through a shed roof.

He was caught after stingers were used to stop a stolen car he was driving.

Gallagher, from Corby, who made the dummy from clothes and a protein powder container, admitted several offences at Leicester Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to escaping from prison, dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified and criminal damage.

He was jailed for 27 months to run consecutively with an eight-year sentence he is currently serving.

The court heard how the dummy he used "suggested someone was still in the bed" when officers looked through his cell window.

'Loud crack'

Hal Ewing, prosecuting, told the court that Gallagher used a stolen car to make his escape, which he eventually crashed after driving down a steep verge.

He said: "He got out of the vehicle and ran off. Dogs and a helicopter were deployed.

"He was jumping over fences in back gardens. Police then heard a loud crack and then a yell of pain, he had fallen through the roof of a shed."

Gallagher, who appeared via video link from HMP Peterborough, had 80 "substantive" previous convictions but was transferred to HMP Sudbury, on 25 April.

Judge Philip Head accepted Gallagher had intended to return the following morning and only escaped to visit his father.

However, he told him: "You had clearly pre-planned this. You took steps to disguise your absence.

"I understand you were frustrated but what you then did was self-defeating, taking matters into your own hands."

Amar Mehta, defending, said he simply wanted to see his father and had become frustrated after being refused a prison transfer.

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