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Last Updated: Monday, 23 April 2007, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
False fax allows US prison escape
Map of Kentucky
A prisoner in the US state of Kentucky was mistakenly freed after a phoney fax ordering his release was sent from a nearby grocery store.

Timothy Rouse, 19, was being held on charges of assault and robbery.

The fax ordering his release claimed to be from the state supreme court, but was riddled with spelling errors and had no letterhead.

Police found Rouse two weeks later at his mother's house after prison authorities realised their mistake.

"It's outrageous that it happened," said Fulton County attorney Rick Major. "I'm just glad nobody got hurt, because he's dangerous."

'No routine check'

Rouse was being held at the Kentucky Correctional and Psychiatric Center near Louisville for mental evaluation when he was released on 6 April.

Prison officials said the fax was received from a nearby grocery store. Police are investigating who faxed the document.

The prison's director said their policies do not require them to check the source of faxes.

"It's not part of a routine check," said Greg Taylor, "but certainly, in hindsight, that would perhaps have caused somebody to ask a question."

Mr Taylor said spelling mistakes are common on court documents.


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