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Prisoner escaped after fooling guards with dummy made up of protein powder container

Ross Gallagher fooled prison guards into thinking he was still in bed after putting a dummy in his bed. Credit: PA

A serial criminal escaped an open prison by fooling guards with a dummy made up of clothing and a protein powder container in his bed.

Ross Gallagher was spotted hopping over garden fences after absconding from HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire on October 19, at one point falling through a shed roof as he attempted to flee pursuing police.

But that did not deter the 32-year-old who was finally caught after stingers were used to try to stop a stolen Peugeot 308 he was travelling on the A14 in Northamptonshire.

Despite two deflated tyres, Gallagher continued to drive for over a mile before making off on foot.

Leicester Crown Court heard how the dummy he used “suggested someone was still in the bed” when officers peered through his cell window.

The court was told Gallagher, who appeared via video link from HMP Peterborough, had 80 “substantive” previous convictions but was transferred to HMP Sudbury from a closed prison on April 25.

Gallagher, originally of Corby, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to escaping from prison, dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified and criminal damage.

He was jailed for 27 months to run consecutively with an eight-year sentence he is currently serving.

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Judge Philip Head accepted Gallagher had intended to return the following morning and only escaped to visit his father after Gallagher become frustrated after being refused a prison transfer.

On Monday, the judge told Gallagher: “I understand you were frustrated but what you then did was self-defeating – taking matters into your own hands.”

Describing the facts of the case, Prosecutor Hal Ewing told the court that Gallagher then used a stolen car to make his escape, which he eventually crashed after driving down a steep verge.

He added: “He got out of the vehicle and ran off. Dogs and a helicopter were deployed.

“He was jumping over fences in back gardens. Police then heard a loud crack and then a yell of pain – he had fallen through the roof of a shed.

“Even at that point the defendant did not give up.”

Amar Mehta, defending, said: “He was going to come back in the morning – he simply wanted to see his father.”