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Tyneside man back in prison 17 years after escape

A man who went on the run after being jailed for armed robbery nearly 30 years ago has been sent back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Alan Byrne carried out the robbery in June 1984, in which a man was killed and another seriously injured, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

After serving ten years of his sentence, Byrne was taken to Newcastle General Hospital for treatment where he escaped when two armed masked men threatened the prison staff and discharged a firearm.

Mr Byrne was then on the run for twelve years before being arrested for drugs offences in the Netherlands, where he was then charged and sent to prison in 2007.

Northumbria police began extradition proceedings in 2009, and he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates Court on November 1st.


Female prison officer suspended at Holme House Prison

A female prison officer has been suspended over allegations she had an improper relationship with an inmate, police say.

The warder, 45, at Holme House Prison, Stockton, has been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and has been bailed while further inquiries are carried out.

Detectives have reportedly examined documents and mobile phones recovered from the woman's home after her arrest four months ago.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: "A 45-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and has been bailed pending further inquiries."

Prison Service statement

The Prison Service has released a statement, after a report was released about the availability of drugs at Durham Prison.

"Tackling drugs is a priority for Durham and the misuse of drugs and prescribed medication will not be tolerated. Robust supply-reduction measures have been introduced and the consequences of misuse have been strengthened.

"These tough measures are in conjunction with effective clinical and non-clinical inventions focused on recovery."

– Prison Service spokesperson

Prison Inspectorate concerns over Durham

HM Prison Inspectorate's main concerns surrounding Durham Prison:

  • 1 in 5 prisoners tested positive in drug tests; more than a third said it was easy to get drugs in the prison; and 13% said they developed a drug problem while they were there
  • the availability of drugs was a significant cause of bullying and there was a lack of rigour in tackling the problem
  • the prison was not sufficiently safe, with around 110 violent incidents a month
  • prisoners spent between 16 and 20 hours in their cells each day
  • the prison was overcrowded and operating at 50% over the number it's intended to hold


Criminal jailed for confessing to a crime police didn't know about

A criminal who is in jail for confessing to a crime he did not commit, has now owned up to a gun theft police did not know about.

Christopher Healey told police he was driving a stolen car which was pursued by officers. They knew this wasn't true. Healey said he had been offered £200 to lie.

While in prison on remand, Healey told police he was involved in stealing guns from a Territorial Army centre. Police were not aware that this had taken place. He said he had been offered £450 to collect the weapons from the grounds of 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment in Middlesbrough, Teesside.

Healey, of Enfield Road, Middlesbrough, had his sentence deferred for six months after admitting perverting the course of justice and handling stolen goods.

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