A  prisoner has escaped from a van heading from HMP Hewell.

The Prisoner John Anslow escaped earlier this morning Monday, January 23 in the Tardebigge area.

Police are saying one Prisoner escaped during an ambush This Morning

It is thought that  guards were threatened with sledge hammers and they were ordered to release one prisoner from the van

The van was taking inmates from Hewell prison in Redditch to Staffordshire Crown Court. The prisoner escaped at about 0820

HMP Hewell was created by an amalgamation of the three former prisons on this site, Blakenhurst, Brockhill and Hewell Grange on 25 June 2008.

Each site caters for a different category of prisoner – Cat B, Cat C and Cat D.

The prison primarily serves the Worcestershire, West Midlands and Warwickshire catchment area.


Global hunt for dangerous fugitive

An “extremely dangerous” prisoner is at the centre of an international manhunt after a gang armed with sledgehammers ambushed a prison van.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke ordered a full inquiry into how murder suspect John Anslow was able to escape following a “well-orchestrated armed ambush” despite being classed as a highly dangerous category A prisoner.

He is the first category A prisoner to escape from custody in more than 17 years.

Three masked men stopped the van, smashed its windows and punched its driver as it was taking inmates from Hewell Prison in Redditch to Stafford Crown Court. 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.

His status was only upgraded after he was charged with the murder of businessman Richard Deakin last week. He was due to be taken to a category A prison, rather than back to Hewell Prison which was designed for lower risk category B, C and D inmates, after his court hearing, but he was sprung from custody at around 8.20am.

The inquiry will consider Anslow’s “security categorisation” and the “management of the prisoner so that we can learn lessons for the future”, Mr Clarke said.

Category A status is reserved for those prisoners whose escape would be highly dangerous to the public, police or security, and for whom the aim is to make escape impossible.

Anslow is the first such prisoner to escape since 1995 when Matthew Williams, serving a life sentence for planting a bomb, administering poisons and arson, was among three men who escaped from Parkhurst jail on the Isle of Wight.

Detective Superintendent Martin Evans, of Staffordshire Police which is leading the hunt, said Anslow, who was also known as Skitz, has strong connections across the country, including London, as well as overseas. Officers are working with all police forces, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and authorities abroad to track him down, and all airports and railway stations were alerted.

Detectives warned Anslow is “extremely dangerous” and should not be approached by the public. He was described as white, 5ft 10in tall, medium build, with short, straight, dark brown hair.