New York prison break: Investigators find 64 bed sheets tied together in escape attempt

'Thankfully, it was discovered before he had an opportunity to test his skills at making a getaway'

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The Independent US

Investigators searching a New York jail have uncovered an apparent escape plot involving the use of 64 tied together bed sheets.

The sheets were tied together in preparation to climb down 11 floors from Ernest Murphy’s cell to the street, officials said.

Murphy is awaiting trial on an attempted murder charge, and hid the sheets under a sink in his cell at the Manhattan detention centre.

"Thankfully, it was discovered before he had an opportunity to test his skills at making a getaway," said Mark Peters, commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation.


Murphy was being held for his alleged involvement in a gang shooting, and was arrested again on suspicion of 'promoting prison contraband' on 11 May.

He has not admitted that the 64 neatly tied sheets, stored under his sink, were part of an escape plan, but authorities insist that there is no other explanation.

The drugs bust followed an undercover investigation in which a police officer posed as an inmate wanting to smuggle illegal substances.

Patricia Howard, a city correction officer who was arrested in Harlem in her uniform,  was detained while carrying a bag of goods that included drugs, lighters and flashlights, and a $800 cut of the operation, police claim.

The 44-year-old, who had been in her job for almost 20 years, is now awaiting a court hearing.

Earlier this month Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, set a record for the longest jail break in New York history, after escaping from the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York.