Page last updated at 17:23 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 18:23 UK

'Stupid' jail escape bid foiled

HMP Exeter
A makeshift rope of knotted bed sheets was found by warders

An inmate's bid to escape by digging a hole through the wall of his prison cell has earned him a further eight months in jail.

Daniel Vail, 25, was convicted at Exeter Crown Court of attempting to escape from HMP Exeter in April 2007.

Vail, who was serving a two-year sentence for wounding and grievous bodily harm, had denied the charge.

"This was an extremely stupid offence. You were bound to be caught," Judge David Ticehurst told Vail.

The court was told Vail had dug a 3ft by 2ft (91cm by 61cm) hole in the wall behind his upper bunk on the second storey of the prison.

He attempted the impossible
Mary McCarthy, defence counsel

He hid debris in cupboards and used his bedding to cover the hole when he was not working on it.

Vail was wearing two sets of clothes when he was caught by warders who were led to the cell by the thumping and scraping sounds as he dug.

A makeshift rope made of knotted bed sheets was also discovered.

After his conviction, Vail's defence counsel Mary McCarthy said: "There was no prospect of this escape ever succeeding."

"He attempted the impossible," she said adding that Vail had acted "on the spur of the moment."

Vail was due to be released on 4 October.

"The prospects of you escaping were minimal," said the judge, who sentenced Vail to eight months imprisonment to run consecutively to his current sentence.

'Quite amusing'

Vail, who has previous convictions for theft, violence and shoplifting told the court he had dug the hole not to escape but to get himself "shipped out" of the prison.

"Someone else had done it and was moved on," he said.

He said he found it "all quite amusing" as the wall was falling apart in his cell.

Vail, who told police he had no intention of escaping, said: "I just wanted to be found out."

Following the discovery of the hole in the cell wall, Vail was moved to jails in Dorchester, Gloucester and Bristol.


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