Seven men have been jailed for helping a prison inmate break free from a prion van following an 8-week trial at Woolwich Crown Court.

The prisoner, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to conspiring to escape from prison and was sentenced to seven years and two months. He managed to escape for over a year, but was arrested in Northern Cyprus and deported back to the UK.

The prisoner was being transported to court from HMP Hewell prison when the van was forced to stop by a car blocking the road. Three men got out of the car and smashed the windows, dragging the driver out of the vehicle and forcing him to open the door to release the prisoner.

Judge Kinch QC sentenced the other six men to terms between three years and eight months and six years in prison for conspiring to assist escape from lawful custody.

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