Haroon Ahmed: Criminal who 'walked out the door' of high-security Serco prison had escaped twice before, court hears

Haroon Ahmed was re-arrested on 1 June after walking out of the prison

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The Independent Online

A robber who “walked out of the door” of a high-security prison run by the outsourcing giant Serco last week had escaped from jail twice before, a court has heard.

Haroon Ahmed, 26, claimed he was escorted out of HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire after jokingly asking a prison officer: “Is it OK for me to go home?” He was rearrested by police on 1 June after spending five days on the run.

Appearing at Burton Magistrates’ Court, Ahmed was reportedly flanked by twice the usual number of security guards while he stood in the dock. The short hearing was also attended by a number of police officers.

Ahmed is accused of escaping from lawful custody at the privately-run Category B prison, which has launched an urgent investigation into the incident. Sources close to the jail have told The Independent he was on an internal “watch list” of inmates thought likely to attempt escape.

He claimed to have fled to Marbella on the Costa del Sol, but on the morning of 1 June he was arrested by officers at an address in Nottingham – raising doubts over whether he had ever left the country at all.

The court was told that Ahmed, from Derby, has two previous convictions for escaping from custody with the most recent in 2012.

Emma Thompson, prosecuting, said: “He has deliberately escaped from a category B prison while serving an indeterminate sentence. He has previously escaped and has numerous disposals to commit an offence.”

Ahmed is due to appear at Stafford Magistrates’ Court on 29 June.