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Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 19:41 GMT
Escaped remand prisoner 'hijacked' taxi
police graphic
A remand prisoner, who escaped custody in Oxfordshire following a court appearance, abducted a taxi driver to make his getaway.

Mervyn Plummer, 19, from Manchester was due to return to Bullingdon prison on Tuesday after appearing at Bicester Magistrates Court on a grievous bodily harm charge.

He was being taken to a secure van when he threatened a security guard with what police said appeared to be a sharp object, before running off into the town.

Detective Inspector Simon Morton of Thames Valley Police said officers were told a driver and his taxi were missing, three hours after the escape.

'Great relief'

He said: "We were very concerned for the welfare of the driver. It was a great relief when he finally called us."

The 33-year-old cab driver told police that Mr Plummer asked to be taken to the nearest train station before threatening him with a Stanley knife.

The taxi drove along the M40, the M42 and the M5 before Mr Plummer told the driver to stop at motorway services close to junction 10 of the M6, in the West Midlands.

There, the escaped prisoner got out of the car and walked away.

Det Insp Morton added: "The driver was unhurt but he was naturally very shocked and very confused by his ordeal.

Mervyn Plummer
Mr Plummer was due to return to Bullingdon prison
"Today we went over the whole story with him and the passenger was clearly Mervyn Plummer."

Sniffer dogs and a helicopter were used to search the area and Thames Valley Police have said the man should not be approached.

Mr Plummer was last seen wearing an open-neck purple shirt and blue jeans.

He is described as African-Caribbean, 6 ft 2 ins tall, slim build with a small moustache.

Neighbouring police forces have been placed on alert for Mr Plummer, along with train, bus and taxi companies.

Inspector Carole Haveron, of Bicester police, said: "We are warning anybody who thinks they know his whereabouts not to make any approaches but to call police as soon as possible."

Police confirmed no-one was injured during the break-out.

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