Riot trial continues without escapees

FIVE defendants in the Strangeways prison riot trial were still on the run last night after escaping through the ceiling of a lavatory next to a cell where they were being held at court.

Their escape meant that only six of the original 12 defendants in the trial were in the dock as the case continued at Manchester Crown Court yesterday. One prisoner has still not been recaptured after a previous breakout.

A preliminary report into the escape on Wednesday night, which has seriously embarrassed the Prison Service, will be completed by today. But a local Labour MP said he had previously warned the authorities about security at the court.

The men removed a plasterboard ceiling above a lavatory next to the holding cell where they were being kept at the court. They then crawled through a ventilation duct which led to the dock of a deserted courtroom.

There they went through the judge's rooms at the back before going down a staircase and fleeing through a fire escape door. Police only realised that they had gone when they triggered off an alarm as they opened the fire door. By the time officers got to the exit the prisoners, in civilian clothes, had disappeared.

One of the five escapees was Alan Lord, 31, a convicted murderer who was one of the alleged ringleaders of the riot at Strangeways prison in Manchester in 1990. He is already serving a life sentence for stabbing a man to death 12 years ago.

Lord escaped once before while being held in Bolton police station two months after the riot, which caused millions of pounds worth of damage. He was recaptured a few days later.

Another of the five, Mark Azzopardi, 23, is on the run for the second time since the trial began in October. He and another man made off in a car after accomplices faked a road accident which allowed them to overpower their guards in a prison minibus.

The other three escapees are Barry Morton, 23, John Murray, 24, and Anthony Bush, 27. All the 12 defendants in the trial face charges related to the riot at Strangeways which lasted 25 days. The men used a technique which they perfected during the riot to escape. Then prisoners moved between different parts of the jail through roof spaces.

Derek Lewis, director general of the Prison Service, said a preliminary report into the escape by Tony Fitzpatrick, governor of Leeds prison, would be completed today. 'In the light of his report I will decide what further action needs to be taken,' he said.

However, Bob Litherland, Labour MP for Manchester Central, said yesterday that he had warned the authorities about design defects at the court's detention centre when a building worker told him of his concern about the cells.

The trial continued without the missing defendants yesterday. Judge Michael Sachs told the jury that their escape did not affect the evidence. The jury is expected to be sent out early next week to consider its verdicts.

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
footballBut the Newcastle United midfielder's news has 'left his mistress furious'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style