Harbouring a person who has escaped from prison is a criminal offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

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If you have been accused of assisting an escaped prisoner, contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors. We deal with all types of criminal offence and can take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Harbouring an escapee

Harbouring an escapee can mean a lot of things in practical terms. Really, it is any kind of assistance that aims to prevent an escapee from being taken back into custody. This might include allowing the escapee to stay on your property or finding them accommodation.

This is precisely what happened in the case of Julie Thompson, who was a prison officer at Garth Prison. She entered into a relationship with a prisoner, and while he was out on a day’s parole, she helped him (along with some other inmates) to go on the run. She found them all accommodation and later secured a caravan in Wales in which they could stay. She was caught and found guilty of harbouring an escapee. She received six months’ imprisonment.

The maximum sentence for harbouring an escapee is 10 years’ imprisonment.

Assisting an escapee

Assisting an escape from prison is a different offence. In these cases, the defendant has participated in the escape (or intended escape) in some way. This might include driving the prisoner away or providing items to be used in the escape, such as weapons and money.

This was applicable to a case dealt with in the 90s, during which a man helped his brother to escape from prison. He assisted by finding accommodation and driving him away from the police to prevent his arrest. Wigs and make-up had also been purchased to disguise his brother’s appearance when travelling. The defendant was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment.

Like harbouring an escapee, assisting an escape has a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. It can only be dealt with at the Crown Court.

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The cases described above resulted in fairly short custodial sentences, but there are many more examples where long prison terms have been handed out. This includes the case of Bowman, who was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for his role in a ‘foiled’ prison escape that relied on the use of a smuggled pistol.

Therefore, the consequences of harbouring an escapee, or assisting an escape, are potentially very serious. If you face either charge, contact us at Ashmans for expert legal representation.

To speak to a  solicitor, call us on 0333 009 6275 for a free initial enquiry. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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