Great Escapes (from NSW prisons) - Number 4

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Saturday 7 March 2009

R v Aslett (unreported, NSW Court of Criminal Appeal, 16/10/1998)

This escape happened at the Prince of Wales Hospital Randwick, after the offender had injured his right arm which necessitated his admission. It was 1.30am in Ward 2 of the hospital and the offender was in the custody of several prison officers. He requested permission to visit the ‘facilities’, which was granted so long as two prison officers stood guard outside the toilet. Well, a short time later the toilet door burst open and the offender exited the toilet and ran out of the ward and down a fire escape to the southern end of the Hospital, all while being hotly pursued by two officers (the same two who were supposed to be standing guard at the door). The facts continue here in the judgment:

“One of the officers, from the rear of the chase, called upon the applicant to ‘Stop or I'll shoot’ and a warning shot was fired near the applicant. The prison officer continued chasing the applicant and knocked him to the ground by kicking his legs from under him. The applicant regained his footing and was chased by both prison officers who lost sight of him for a short time. A car alarm was heard sounding from the carpark a short time later approximately 1.50am and the applicant was located by an officer under a building near the carpark.”

I can’t imagine what it must have been like being either one of the other patients or a staff member at the hospital, particularly since: “… at the time of his escape the offender wore only his underpants”. While barely an escape at all, it gets number 4 on my list of Top 5 escapes.


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