Prison Break

2 May 2013

Unusually this is believed to have been an escape from inside the prison, not an escape whilst the prisoner was in transit as is more commonly the case.  Mr Massey was convicted in 1975 and is serving a life sentence as a result of the death of a man in East London in a shooting incident involving the use of a sawn-off shotgun.  Officers from the Metropolitan Police say that members of the public should not approach him if they see him as he is considered to be 'potentially dangerous'.

Great concerns will obviously arise as to prison security in light of this escape, particularly as it is understood that Mr Massey escaped on a previous occasion in 2007 when being transferred from closed to open conditions. 

HMP Pentonville is not a designated high security jail, and is understood to house category B & C prisoners.  It was completed in the early Victorian era as a 'model' facility.  After the closure of Newgate Prison in the early 20th century, Pentonville took over as the execution site of those who received the death sentence, the last of which took place in 1961.  However, in the modern era it has suffered a great deal of criticism, and it's conditions have previously been criticised by prison inspectors. 

With the inevitable comparisons to 'famous' escapes, both factual and fictional, perhaps the most interesting question arising from this story is 'how did he do it?'.  It seems that the current trend for all things 'vintage' or 'retro' has extended to prison escapes, as it is reported that he made his exit using what is described as a makeshift rope which was thrown over the wall.

The above article is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues

If you need any help or advice on this issue please contact Hazel Jones on 0845 5212999 or email