Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 11:57 UK

Repairs at prisoner escape court

Crown Court entrance at Swansea's Guildhall
The Guildhall in Swansea opened on 23 October, 1934

A crown court building from where a prisoner escaped is to close for repairs.

But court managers say work to the roof at the Guildhall in Swansea was planned before James Stevenson's break-out and had nothing to do with security.

Stevenson, 29, who had a previous conviction for manslaughter, fled on 2 October after being given a five-year jail term for a firearms offence.

Managers said work would be done at a time when no sittings were planned.

The public have been advised not to approach Stevenson. It is thought he managed to leave a basement custody suite at the building before fleeing.

Rene Kinzett, leader of the Conservative group on Swansea council, has raised questions about the security at the Guildhall, which is used as an overflow venue for the city's main crown court nearby.

James Stevenson
James Stevenson has been on the run since Friday, 2 October

A spokeswoman for Her Majesty's Court Services said: "The planned HMCS refurbishment work to the roof at the Guildhall will be taking place at a time when no court sittings are due to take place at that venue.

"Court business will not be affected as business will continue to be listed at the St Helens Crown Court site in Swansea. The work does not have any security aspect".

The crown court occupies only a small section of the Guildhall, which is owned by Swansea council.

In 2006 the authority identified £30m worth of refurbishment work needed at the site.

Meanwhile, the 75th anniversary of the opening of the building will be marked on 23 October, when the council is offering pre-bookable tours of the Guildhall.



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SEE ALSO
Jailed criminal flees crown court
02 Oct 09 |  South West Wales
Prisoner on run 'escaped before'
05 Oct 09 |  Wales
30m promise for Guildhall revamp
17 Feb 06 |  South West Wales

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