The two, both serving life, were named as Anthony Coughtrey and Gary Johns. It is thought they scaled a wall to escape. Coughtrey, 22, was convicted at Luton in September 1993, and Johns, 30, at Chelmsford in July 1993.
A police manhunt was set up and an internal investigation began at the prison. Scotland Yard said they were searching the area inside the perimeter wall at the jail as well as outside. A spokesman warned the public not to approach the men who "could be dangerous". He described them both as between 5ft 10ins and 6ft and wearing blue jeans and blue tops.
Derek Lewis, director general of the Prison Service, has survived several calls for his resignation following high-profile incidents. In September last year, five members of the IRA and an armed robber escaped briefly from Whitemoor jail, Cambridgeshire. And in January, three dangerous prisoners escaped for several days from Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight.Reuse content