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Inmates help build vocational centre

Staff and inmates at HMP Highpoint at the ribbon-cutting event Credit: HMP Highpoint

When HMP Highpoint in Suffolk needed a new centre to expand its vocational training, inmates put the skills they were learning to good use and built it themselves.

So it was only fitting that three of the Stradishall C-category prison’s hardest-working students were invited to do the honours and cut the ceremonial ribbon at its official opening.

The new centre offers courses including decorating, fitted interiors, information technology and plumbing, and focuses on getting learners ready for the workplace on their release.

The project was completed at a fraction of the commercial cost because staff and students worked together to convert old, disused workshops into bespoke training areas.

Man found guilty of helping prisoner escape

A man was convicted today of holding two prison officers at gunpoint to help an inmate jailed for a violent assault escape custody.

Garry Cowan, 45, was found guilty of springing Andrew Farndon from outside the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds on January 25.

The getaway took place after Farndon was taken to the A&E ward with a knife wound sustained at Highpoint Prison in Stradishall, Suffolk.

Farndon was serving an indeterminate sentence after fracturing a victim's skull in a hammer attack. His escape sparked a nationwide manhunt.

Cowan, his former jailmate, had been released 15 days earlier after serving a 9-year sentence for robbery.

He denied possession of a replica firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and assisting an offender to escape.

But a jury in London found him guilty on both counts.

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