Convicted killer escapes from security van

A convicted killer escaped from the back of a security van today while being transported to court, police said.

Richard Smith, 29, had just arrived at Salford Magistrates' Court when the vehicle was attacked by two men armed with crowbars.

They threatened the guards inside the van and forced open its doors at 7.48am, allowing Smith to escape.

Smith, of Lower Broughton, Salford, fled the scene in a white Transit van which was later found abandoned, police said.

He was facing charges of conspiracy to commit arson at a vehicle rescue yard, and had earlier been collected from Swinton Police Station to make his first appearance at the court.

Smith was convicted of the manslaughter of nightclub bouncer Ben Kamanalagi in 2001 and was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail.

Detective Inspector Claire Devlin, of Salford CID, said: "Smith is just creating more problems for himself by running off because he will be caught and this is another, more serious, charge to add to those he was already facing.

"If you see him or know where he is, please do not approach him but call us immediately by dialling 999."

Smith is described as a white, 5ft 10in tall, of heavy build with green eyes and brown hair.

He was wearing blue jeans, a black sweatshirt and Adidas trainers when he was last seen. His teeth are bleached and he also has a tattoo on one of his fingers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Salford CID on 0161 856 5351 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.