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Jail break, in more ways than one... man breaks bones as he scales wall to freedom.

Byline: GARETH LIGHTFOOT gareth.lightfoot@reachplc.com @GazetteCourt

A DANGEROUS robber broke his leg escaping from a Teesside jail using a grappling hook - because he did not like being in an open prison.

Blane Halligan, 27, scaled the walls of Kirklevington Grange Prison in Yarm and staged a breakout just to get himself moved to another jail.

He fell and broke his leg, hobbled his way on to a train and gave himself up in Newcastle the next day, Teesside Crown Court heard.

A prison officer was told a grappling hook had been found at the jail at 8pm on March 10.

A roll call revealed Halligan was missing and had absconded, said prosecutor Jenny Haigh on Wednesday. Almost exactly 24 hours later, the injured escapee surrendered on crutches at Etal Lane police station in Newcastle, 54 miles away.

He declared: "I've escaped from prison. I want to hand myself in."

The fugitive told officers he broke out to get back in again.

He said he wanted to be moved back to a secure prison and had only planned to stay on the run briefly.

He declined to answer questions about the grappling iron, where he went, the escape plan and whether he had any help.

He was serving an indefinite sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP), imposed at Birmingham Crown Court in 2011 for robbery and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

At the age of 19, he threatened a man on a bus with a knife, demanded his phone and stabbed him, leaving the victim needing heart surgery.

Other robberies, attempted robberies, assaults and burglary were among his 32 previous offences.

He was transferred to Kirklevington Grange from Nottingham in August last year.

Appearing in court via video link to Northumberland Prison, he admitted escaping from lawful custody.

Mark Richardson, defending, said Halligan's original minimum sentence was four years but he had still not been released.

Under the now-scrapped sentences, the Parole Board decide when it is safe to release IPP inmates.

Mr Richardson said: "IPP sentences, highly controversial, they have since been abolished. This is a young man who's still trapped in that kind of sentence, with a huge question mark over when, if ever, he will be released.

"He's a young man who's become institutionalised. He had grown accustomed to closed custody. He found it very difficult to cope in open conditions."

He added: "The decision was to escape, not in order to be free but in order to lose his status as someone eligible for open conditions.

"He used a makeshift grappling hook in order to scale the prison wall. Unfortunately it wasn't very effective.

"He got over the wall but it failed him and he fell some distance and broke his leg, his knee and foot in two places."

Mr Richardson said Halligan went to Newcastle because he had family there but committed no offences at large before he surrendered.

Judge Howard Crowson said there must have been some planning to the escape.

He told Halligan: "You were assessed as a man who was dangerous.

"Until the Parole Board assesses you differently, I have to conclude they still think you are. Ultimately it will be for the Parole Board to determine your terms of release."

Halligan was jailed for a year for the escape.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 15, 2018
Words:551
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